If you haven’t experienced working with an underperformer then you’re either:
- Extremely lucky
- Possibly oblivious
- The underperformer and just don’t realise it!
Many people believe there are a few basic principles in the workplace, and from an employee’s perspective a fundamental expectation is that management will recruit the right people into their respective roles. If they get it wrong then it’s the employees in their team who have to live with the consequences, so it is important for management to recognise how working with an underperformer makes an employee feel.
In a nutshell – exhausted!
We all know that teams are made up of a range of different personalities with different skillsets – that’s the fundamental purpose of a team. A truly effective team member recognises their own preferences, abilities, and personality type, and the skillsets of others. Most of us learn what our preferences are through years of working in a range of both large corporate and SME organisations. There are also personality tests that exist to help people understand what they are, like Myers Briggs or the Belkin personality test.
So for a member of staff who is all about structure and process, having a colleague who is perhaps more creative and unstructured can be challenging but not impossible to work with. It’s all about adapting. But having someone who is just incompetent and a persistent underperformer is an absolute nightmare!
Many of us probably wonder how underperformers still have a job. It is of course important to remember that everyone goes through phases where they’re not firing on all cylinders and be sensitive to this, because their underperformance can be caused by many different reasons. But the repeat offenders, the real underperformers; these people don’t just have occasional dips in performance. They have proved time and again that they’re just not up to the job.
You know that any task given to them just won’t be done correctly. They struggle to meet a deadline or they submit a sub-standard piece of work just in time (done incorrectly) leaving you no time to fix it. Then when you do fix it (because it has to be right) you’ve doubled your own workload which leaves you feeling less than motivated because your manager won’t be doubling your salary accordingly!
Then there’s the training debate; your manager may not want to manage them out of the business but develop them into their role. This will frustrate many of your employees. The underperforming member of staff was employed as whatever their job title is, but because of their failure to deliver, the department is now going to spend a proportion of the precious and often scarce training budget training them to do the job they were employed for in the first place. Many employees will wonder why you didn’t just recruit the right person in the first place and spend that tiny training budget on developing existing performers with new skills, thereby growing your internal talent.
From an employee’s view, an underperformer is draining; they sap every piece of energy and patience out of you and unfortunately can start to be resented for letting the team down, which isn’t a good situation for anyone. In the best case scenario you have a miserable team and in the worst, it can lead to increased stress levels and even incidents of long term absence.
To stop this eventuality from happening, it is vital for managers to recruit carefully, and to have a mechanism in place that spots underperformers in good time. Left to fester, underperformers are going to damage your team’s productivity and worse still, ruin your culture.
If you don’t want your teams to experience this, then why not take a look at our white paper ‘I’ve Got an Underperformer… Get Them Out Of Here’ below.
Alternatively if you would like to take a look at how Actus™ could help your business just drop us a line at [email protected], visit our website www.actus.co.uk, or book a FREE demo of the software by following the link below.