“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.”Lawrence Bossidy.

People are a company’s most important resource. People bring ideas, skills, and knowledge to your business. Your employees are an invaluable resource. Every business has a CEO or someone who moves the business forward, similar to an engine. If you think of your business like a train, the CEO is the conductor and each part of the business has its own car. If one car falls off the whole train stops moving forward. What do you do with the under-performing employees who are dragging the team and business down?

First, set up a meeting and see if there is an underlying cause. Ask how their home life is, do they like their job, what would they change. The goal of these questions should be to find out the root cause of the problem so together you can brainstorm ways to help fix the problem.

Next, give direct feedback. Objectively explain the behavior and the effects said behavior is having using specific, concrete examples.

Then work together to create measurable goals that solve the problem and help your employee. Set a timeline for these goals and check points to check in on progress. Give the employee the resources they’ll need to achieve the goals you’ve set.

Lastly, explain the consequences if the behavior is not fixed. Letting someone go should never be the first option. It will take more time and resources to hire and train someone new. Invest in the people you have already, there was a reason you hired them.

Remember to clearly document everything. You want to establish a pattern of behavior, the steps taken to fix the problem, warnings and resources, and any other supplemental information. By doing this you are protecting your company and showing the employee why you are taking the steps you are taking.

Sometimes, people don’t change. Even with the best resources and support system, the behavior will fail to change. This is when it’s time to make that final decision, as hard as it might be. It will take time, effort, and attention to every detail. You’ll have to make some gut calls and maybe even make unpopular decisions, but the return on investment could be substantial.

Even if you aren’t dealing with an under-performing employee it is a good idea to regularly check in with your team to see how they are doing.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • How do you feel about the current business culture?
  • What do you like/dislike about your job?
  • What would you change about the company if you could?
  • What are your goals?

Are you currently dealing with an under-performing employee? If you need help navigating this or another business issue, reach out!