Underperformance doesn’t have to be fatal, even if it’s endemic in the business world. That sounds simple, but it isn’t easy. Many people managers do not want to discuss underperformance because they are uncomfortable with conflict. However, left unaddressed, the issue can have serious detrimental effects, the most damaging of which is the loss of productivity and impact on organisational outcomes. It is also infectious, and underperformers can undermine the performance of others and destroy team cohesion.

The retention of unmanaged underperformers also harms the perception of the organisation in the eyes of its employees, competitors, and customers. It highlights poor HR practices, which result in the loss of trust and credibility in management and the executive team.

With so much at stake, CEOs and business leaders have a responsibility to speak up and take action on behalf of their organisation. Establishing effective performance management systems is important to the overall happiness of the team, and makes a positive impact on a workforce’s motivation and productivity levels.

Business leaders need to ensure their people managers are equipped with the skills to identify and effectively manage underperformance in the workplace. Here are eight things to consider when doing so:

1. Don’t forget about your top performers

One of the most common mistakes people managers make is devoting too much time on managing underperformers at the exclusion of the organisation’s top performers. A high-performing employee often contributes many more times the value to the business than its weakest performers. It’s important for business leaders to keep this in mind when executing performance management programs and avoid neglecting their best performers. After all, employees are people, and everyone needs to feel recognised, valued, and rewarded.

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