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How to Deal With Underperformers During Performance Feedback

Annual Performance Reviews are dwindling gradually. Many organizations have started to move to continuous feedback mechanism.

Normally,  employees take frequent feedback positive; but at the same time,  Underperformers become a painful task for both HR and Immediate Supervisor.

So how to deal with this situation? - There's no or little solution if the Underperformer has started arguments and the immediate supervisor is unprepared.

The answer lies in following 3 preliminary preparations that need to be made before Performance Feedback time in order to avoid any such surprising event.

1. Clearly defined Job Expectations through clearly designed Job Descriptions.

Underperformers take it as their strength if they find loopholes in their Job Descriptions. HR, in this matter, needs to sit with Line Managers to make sure that Job Descriptions are up to date and they are clearly defined with clear performance standards or performance expectations.

This practice should be well in knowledge of an employee that his/her performance will be measured at a specifically defined criteria.


2. Approach the Employee immediately if there's any deviation.

If there is any deviation between what was agreed and what is being performed, it is now with umpteen importance to approach the employee immediately and guide towards being back to the track. This practice should be done by immediate supervisor while keeping HR in knowledge.


3. Provide Coaching to Immediate Supervisors to act supportive.

Coaching is one of the key factors that contribute towards moving Underperformer to a Performer. HR, in this matter, can be a great support function by arranging and distributing necessary resources for Line Managers to read, understand and act accordingly. For example: HR can gather study materials from different subscribed online platforms necessary for Line Managers or Immediate Supervisors for their easy and quick reference.

The ultimate objective of coaching is to ensure that the immediate supervisor has understood the importance and techniques of providing support to the subordinate during Performance Review cycle.

These three are the only best preparations that need to be made well before Performance Feedback Cycle in order to avoid the need to terminate Underperformers as the only option, which is not an intelligent approach of managing people at work



By: Farhan Hanif (PHRi, SHRM-CP, CHRP)

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