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If your employees aren’t performing their best, your business suffers - it’s as simple as that. These underperforming employees are responsible for carrying out the everyday tasks needed to keep your business ticking over and maintaining its revenue.

When employee performance levels start to drop, things begin to slip through the cracks, which translates into a drop in revenue and sales.

How to prevent employees from underperforming?

The answer is to keep your employees engaged, happy, and feeling like they’re valued.

According to research, 39% of workers would work harder if they were happier in their current role. (Source: Forbes)

Having effective performance management techniques is extremely crucial to overcome performance issues. Ensuring that your employees are content and satisfied in their position and within your company is the first step in knocking underperformance on its head.

Step by step guide to dealing with underperforming employees

Dealing with underperforming employees often becomes tricky and leads to some awkward conversations. How do you manage an underperforming employee? If you don't know the strategy, no problem. We will give you one.

Here is a step-by-step guide to dealing with underperforming employees.

1. Acknowledge the problem

Recognition is the number one thing employees admit their manager could inspire them and encourage them to produce great work. But with credit comes acknowledgment. If you don’t open up to your employees about their underperformance, you won’t know what’s causing it and how to fix it.

Sometimes they might just be going through a rough time, or they might need something in particular from you to help them get past a roadblock and thrive. Once your employee knows that you’ve noticed their underperformance, you can both start working together to fix it.

2. Document discussions

Like with anything, it’s worth documenting every conversation or piece of communication you have with your employee about their underperformance.

By documenting what’s been said and what you’ve planned moving forward, you’ll be able to check in regularly and see what kind of progress is being made. Documentation also helps simplify the process in the future if another employee faces the exact reasons for underperforming.

3. Identify areas of improvement

The next step is to identify where your employees can improve and get their performance levels back to scratch. Vague promises and plans don’t work in these situations and can confuse everyone.

Instead, you want to state where the employee is falling short and why that might be the case.

It helps to identify a precise crystal level of improvement that you’d like to see. For example, if a member of your sales team is only selling to five clients a month and you’d like to see them selling to fifteen, clearly state that as an area of improvement.

You can then tap into these improvement checkpoints at each review moving forward. If you’re not already, you should be putting in place regular checks with your employees where you can deliver feedback, and they can share any struggles or challenges they are facing.

When an employee feels heard and like they can talk to you about their issues, they’re far more likely to come to you for help improving their performance.

4. Create a plan of action

‍The most important part of the process is to create a plan of action. How are your employees supposed to know what to do next if they don’t have those steps laid out for them?

One of the main reasons employees begin to underperform is because they feel like they’re in over their head or struggling with a particular element of their role.

If you can help them put concrete, actionable steps in place to understand what they need to do better, you’ll be able to get the most out of their performance. You can use a platform to set goals, create a plan of action, measure the results and provide feedback all in one place.

5. Assess performance

Finally, it’s so important to measure and assess the performance of your employees. You ideally need a benchmark to work from moving forward so you can quickly identify when a team member is underperforming and tackle the issue head-on before it gets too bad.

When your employees know that they have something to work towards and will be assessed on their performance, they are more likely to push themselves the extra mile to reach the checkpoints that have been set for them.

This helps instill a sense of value into your team and will continuously have them moving forwards rather than stagnating in their roles.


Performance is vital if you want your business to succeed. Employees performing below average over a long period will start to take their toll on your company and its bottom line, which is why it’s important to address performance issues as soon as they crop up.

To do this, you must hold regular feedback sessions and reviews for all staff members and provide a clear plan of action when you identify any areas that need improvement.

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Scott Miraglia

Scott Miraglia is the President at Elevation Marketing from Phoenix, Arizona Area.