5 Ways To Transform Under-performers Into Productive Employees

Your car is likely to break down if you ignore a hum or rattle emanating from its engine for too long. Just as defective parts can cause your car to stop running, under-performing employees can prevent your organization from functioning smoothly. Your organization will suffer if even one of the employees consistently under-performs. Employees who under-perform on a consistent basis cause the organization the following things:

  • Loss of opportunity

  • Loss of productivity

  • Loss of morale

As a manager or team leader, it’s your responsibility to address the frailties of your team or organization including consistent poor employee performance. You must devise a strategy to make an employee perform better if you notice that he or she has developed a pattern of poor work. Disengaged or under-performing employees can have a devastating effect on your team or organization. To prevent them from causing any damage, you must deal with under-performing employees as soon as possible. Following are the 5 ways you can transform under-performers into productive employees.

Find out the reason for under-performance

This is a no-brainer. To improve the performance of an under-performing employee, you must find out what’s causing him or her to under-perform. There’s always a reason why some people in an organization don’t achieve success. Finding out why under-performing employees aren’t meeting performance expectations is the first step towards rectifying their inabilities.

Show the under-performers why their work matters

Often, employees in an organization don’t strive for success because they feel their work contributes little to the overall success of the organization. As a manager or team leader, you’d know well that the performance of each employee matters and this is something you need to make the under-performer understand. Sit down with the under-performing employee and tell him or her exactly how their work helps the organization to achieve success.

Make performance expectations clear

Employees are likely to under-perform if they do not know what’s expected of them. Often, under-performing employees are unaware of the fact that they’re failing to meet expectations. Reasons include a lack of guidance and miscommunication. To improve the performance of under-performing employees, you must inform them about how they’re performing currently and what you expect from them going forward. To make performance expectations clear, do the following:

  • Outline the employee’s role and responsibility

  • Give clear feedback

  • Set measurable and achievable goals

Provide necessary training

In many cases, an employee is unable to perform up to mark because he or she doesn’t have the necessary skills for the job. Fortunately, this problem is easy to fix. By providing him or her necessary training, you can help an employee who’s under-performing due to a lack of skills perform better.

Inform them when they improve

If an under-performer starts to improve his or her performance, you should be quick to acknowledge this change in their performance. Make sure that they know they have improved and are no longer on the firing line.

Disengaged or under-performing employees can disrupt the smooth functioning of your team or organization. By using the aforementioned ways, you can transform under-performers into productive employees.


April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.

Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.

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