Turning Poor Performers Into Top Talent

By: First Union


Turning Poor Performers Into Top Talent

Ideally, you hire someone and they gel perfectly within your company culture. They do their job beyond expectation even, and you have on your hands, one productive worker. However, we don't necessarily live in an ideal world, and so it does happen that we hire someone who just seems to be in a constant state of struggle with the job at hand. Or there's also the scenario in which circumstances outside of their control—life circumstances—intervene and make it difficult for them to perform as they should. What then can you do as a team leader to help fix their focus and transform otherwise poor performers?

Of course, you don't want to approach this from the standpoint of "shape up or ship out." That will probably only make the situation worse and have the exact opposite effect of what you want. This doesn't get results, nor will it help a poor performer to improve. What you can do, however, is first and foremost, open the lines of communication and be honest with that employee.

Honesty is essential here. If the worker isn't doing a good job, they need to be made aware of this tactfully and constructively. If you just ignore it and let it go, the undesirable behavior will simply continue and ultimately hurt all of your employees.

As the leader, it is also your job not only to make them aware of issues but then to sit down with them and try and help them devise solutions to said issues. Maybe it's a matter of pairing this person with someone more capable, someone who can better show them the ropes, so to speak. Mentoring situations can be very useful especially for employees who may be struggling somewhat.

Whatever discussions you have, whatever actions you opt to take regarding a poor performing employee, always keep empathy at the forefront of your attitude. Compassion is key. We are all human; we all struggle now and then—keep this in mind as you do broach this issue with your employee. Showing your human side and exhibiting understanding could bring about positive results and may help strengthen your relationship with your team members.

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