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Five tips to managing your employee's performance in the workplace

by , 29 January 2013
Poor performance is one of the biggest wastes of time, resources and money in your company. Dealing with poor performance can be extremely stressful and time consuming for everyone concerned. Don't let the bottom 20% of your workforce cost you 80% of your managers' time! Use these five tips to nip underperformance in the bud...

'A poor performance is usually something you see in amateur theatre – not in the workplace!' begins a poor performance article on The South African Labour Guide's website. But employee underperformance is no laughing matter.

Every year, underperformance in the workplace costs South African companies millions of rands in lost productivity.
But what is poor performance and how do you spot it?
When you use phrases like incompetence, bad attitude, carelessness, and failure to comply with reasonable standards, what you're referring to is poor employee performance. To overcome it, you need to identify the problem quickly and develop a proper and effective performance management system to deal with it.
Here are five ways to getting to grips with poor performance as outlined by the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.
The five essential steps for managing employee performance
Step #1: Make sure your employee knows what's expected from him
Good employee performance starts with a detailed job description that outlines everything from what the job entails to key performance areas and the company structure. A good performance management system will also outline standards of performance and specific tasks. 
Step #2: Give him the right tools and training
During your employee's induction period, you need to ensure he attends your company's orientation training programme. Conduct informal performance reviews during his probation period where you can both address poor performance issues as they arise.
Step #3: Give him the chance to shine
Monitor your employee's performance closely in the first few months and give him feedback so he can attain high levels of performance as soon as possible. Doing this means your employee will quickly discover what the acceptable standard for work is and you can address short-comings before they become an issue.
Step #4: Conduct a formal performance review
Employees need to know if they're doing a good job, and the perfect vehicle to do this is during a performance review. Make sure you conduct at least two performance reviews with your employees each year so they know if they're on the right track or not. Just remember that any criticism you give must be constructive – it's a manager's job to help an employee grow.
Step #5: Keep written records so you can reward your employee appropriately
During every performance review, rate your employee to ensure work standards aren't slipping. (A five-point scale from poor to excellent is an easy way to rate your employee's performance.) Address the areas where your feel your employee is lacking by suggesting ways for your employee to improve (like additional training or time management skills) and reward good performance.
By having a performance management system in place, you'll be able to identify problem areas right from the start. Doing this is key to ensuring your employee's performance is up to standard.

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