3 Preventative Cures For Underperforming Employees

combating underperformanceJust like the doctor says, the best cure is always prevention. In my experience I find that most problems with employees comes down to issues with communication and misunderstanding their function within the organization.

Here are the top three cures for combating underperformance before it becomes a problem.

1. Have a Clear Job Description

One of the things we do here at BDO is we try to ensure our staff have a clear, defined role instead of various duties or tasks. We clearly define the scope of their employment because that is where we find people can fall down and say things like, “Well I didn’t know that was part of my job.”

We like to make sure that our team members are aware of the inner mechanics of their position before they’ve actually applied for it so we can attract people that are better suited for a particular role.

Just because we are hiring somebody for office manager doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be managing their own team, it probably means that they will be managing a lot workflow-related duties. For these reasons, it is really important to make sure they understand the context of their role within the organization if you want a fighting chance at combating underperformance.

2. Give Constant Feedback

It’s really important for us to give constant feedback in our office.  To do this we have created a very structured method for giving feedback to make sure staff know when they are on task. Whether it’s a specific job or engagement that they’re working, there are benchmarks they have to reach along the way in terms of how much time it takes and other metrics that make for a successful job.

We have a fairly formal evaluation process conducted on a job-by-job basis. There is actually a form we’ve created to help rate our staff in specific categories (if a job is big enough).

Here is a short breakdown of our process:

  • We send an audit team in the field during a project
  • Every one on the job gets evaluated by the manager
  • The manager gets evaluated by the partner
  • Evaluation points for managers include rating technical knowledge, quality of work, leadership and how well they collaborated
  • Ratings are given from 1-10 in defined categories
  • Other feedback includes comments, strengths and opportunities for growth to improve on the next job

3. Finding The Right Role For Each Person

Nobody is perfect and the fact of the matter is that you may not place the right person in the correct position on the first try. Maybe they’re excellent with clients and the client relationship but their technical knowledge is lacking to be able to perform at a certain functions on the job. We then might have to re-evaluate if that individual should be someone who is doing the client service, growth and marketing-related tasks rather than being out there filling paperwork.

It was Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

There is quite a difference between people that prefer to sit in their office and quietly do the work and there are those that would go crazy doing that because they are to big picture-oriented. It’s great to have people who are detail-oriented that operate with one or two big picture thinkers that can really steer the ship.

Take The Time To Find The Right People

It is absolutely worth the effort to find the right people to pair with your team. Would you prefer wasting more time and dollars on training only to find out that it wasn’t their cup of tea? I didn’t think so.
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How are you actively combating underperformance in your business? Let me know in the comments below.

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