Can you believe it’s November already?  We can’t, but it’s actually one of our favourite months as the hit TV show ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here’ starts and whether you watch it or not you’re sure to hear people commenting around your office on the previous night’s bush tucker trial.

We think the programme is fascinating from a team dynamic perspective and we observe with interest how the natural leaders of the group deal with a persistent underperformer.

But what causes underperformance?

Sometimes it starts at the very beginning – the wrong recruit. HR are not fortune tellers and unless the role has very specific technical requirements or the job description specifically asks for evidence based data (such as sales target history) they do occasionally get it wrong and recruit the wrong person for the role! Obviously if this happens then you have a new team member who loses confidence very quickly and could disengage with the company – “Great” you might say, “They’ll leave”…but in today’s job market they don’t always take that option. If you do find yourself in this position then you need to take immediate action as this problem won’t go away!

Underperforming staff disrupt teams and can ultimately have a detrimental effect on your culture

Obviously you need to ensure that the HR onboarding process is tightened up to try and eradicate the mistakes made, but you’ll also need to re-evaluate the employee’s skillset and either provide them with the relevant training for the role, reassign them into another more suitable area of the business or just not sign off their probation period and begin the recruitment process all over again (expensive mistake).

Another cause of underperformance could be external disruptions

Perhaps they’re having a difficult time at home and although not intentional it is seriously affecting their ability to work, the name of the game here is empathy! If you’ve identified the problem then perhaps suggest some more regular 1 to 1’s so that the employee feels they have someone listening to them, but also keep focused on the needs of the business and set some short term well defined objectives that will help keep the distracted employee focused.

Maybe you have a member of your team who has outgrown their position and isn’t being challenged enough?

Although more than competent they are bored and their performance is suffering as a result of just coming in and going through the motions. It’s your job to ensure that regular career discussions are held and acted upon to ensure this never happens because if you don’t offer the progression they require you can bet that one of your competitors will.

So what can you do to manage your underperformer?

There are so many variables to the causes of underperformance, but unfortunately unlike the TV show managers can’t just scream at their HR Business Partner “I’ve got an Underperfomer…Get Them Out of Here!”…and if they did then they’d probably be attending their own employment tribunal pretty soon.

We’ve got some suggestions you could try…

Why not download our free guide on the subject, it might give you some good ideas…