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Managing workplace performance

Managing workplace performance

The performance levels of your staff can make or break your business. Fortunately, when staff are underperforming, there are a number of steps you can take to motivate them to work more effectively.



Communication is key to changing an underperforming staff members’ behaviour. Try to find out if there’s a reason they’re not meeting expectations. For example, do they have personal problems affecting their work? Or are they dissatisfied with some aspect of their role? Once you understand what’s behind their poor performance, you will be better equipped to work out strategies on how to improve it.

Be clear

It is important that employees know there is a problem with their work, so ensure they understand what is expected of them in their role. Use clear and direct language, but don’t forget to also be encouraging about their performance. If you are clear and direct, there will be a lot less room for confusion and misunderstanding.


Discuss strategies with the employee on how they think their performance could be improved. For example, would giving them more flexible working hours, such as starting and finishing earlier, help with their job satisfaction?

Involving the employee will make them feel more valued as a team member and also encourage them to address their own situation. Instead of simply being told what to do, the employee may come up with their own solutions and be more proactive about making constructive changes.

Acknowledge and reward

Make sure you acknowledge the positive contribution your employee has made to the business thus far. The reason for their underperformance could be as simple as not being acknowledged for the hard work they do. Rewards don’t need to be expensive. They can be as simple as saying thank you or a couple of movie tickets. Ensure your staff know you value and appreciate their efforts.

Develop a plan

Develop an action plan that includes step-by-step directions and milestones the employee needs to make over a specified timeframe. This will give the employee clear guidance on what is expected of them and how to reach those milestones.

You could also consider offering employees incentives for improving their performance, such as opportunities to undertake training. This will not only improve the skill set of your staff, but also make the employee feel valued enough for you to invest in them.

An underperforming employee can risk the future of your business. However, once you understand the root cause of their behaviour, you can develop strategies to improve their productivity and keep your business on track.

One way to encourage your staff to perform well is to establish a culture of mutual respect and honesty. Learn some of the steps you can take to build trust with your employees.

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