Crash Course: Seven ways to manage poor performance

Under-performance is tricky to deal with, so it often gets ignored. Here are seven ways to avoid that.

by Alexander Garrett

At GE, Jack Welch insisted that his managers sack the bottom 10% of their people every year. A bit extreme, but you have a feeling that there's endemic poor performance in your organisation that isn't being dealt with. So what should you do?

Draw up a policy. It's a good idea to have a policy on performance management, so people know what happens if they don't shape up, says Michael Burd, partner at lawyers Lewis Silkin. 'It used to be considered part of discipline, but now most firms have a separate policy or a hybrid of the two.'

Face up to it. In the UK, employers don't do performance management well because managers don't like confrontation, says Burd. 'Often they'll let it go for 18 months or more and even give a decent appraisal, because they don't want to confront the employee. A percentage of cases could be remedied if they were addressed proactively at an early stage.' And failing to address poor performance undermines the engagement of your other team members, notes Chris Bones, dean of Henley Business School.

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