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Created April 6, 2012

How to Address a Performance Problem

Below are general guidelines to assist you in your interactions with employees having difficulty or performance problems at work. Please refer to your company policies and procedures for your guidelines and additional assistance.

  • Identify the changes in performance that need to take place for the employee to be successful.
  • Meet with the employee to discuss the performance problem or deficiency. Do not wait until a performance review. Use a private setting (e.g., an office with a door) in order to protect confidentiality and to maintain the employee's dignity.
  • When meeting with the employee, explain, in detail, the performance issues and explain why it is important for the performance to improve and meet the job standards. Be specific. Stick to the facts. Have documentation available. Discuss the performance issues and behaviors, not the person.
  • Gain agreement on the deficiencies and agreement on the standards the employee must achieve.
  • Focus on the performance standards required for the job.
  • Agree on solutions and ask what the employee needs to perform the job successfully, such as more training or other resources. Agree on the plan and the time frames expected for improving the performance.
  • Advise the employee of the consequences if the performance does not improve.
  • Set up regular feedback meetings with the employee to discuss the progress (i.e., every Friday to go over the week's results).
  • If the employee does not meet the expectations outlined in the plan, consult with your Human Resource office and follow your company policies and procedures on the next steps (e.g., written warning, suspension).

Other tips:

  • Consult with your local Human Resource office throughout the process.
  • Refer to the company policies regarding appropriate office behavior versus inappropriate behavior or to discuss consequences for inappropriate behavior (e.g., write up, verbal warning, suspension, termination).
  • Continually coach the employee and reinforce positive changes.
  • Document all activity pertaining to the performance plan. Consult with your Human Resource office on the company's policy on how to document the performance, what feedback to provide the employee, and what type of files you can keep regarding your feedback meetings.