How to Manage Staff Who Are Not Performing: A Guide

How to manage staff who are not performing can be a difficult challenge for any leader. Poor performance can lead to decreased morale and productivity, resulting in business losses or stagnation. Knowing how to identify the root cause of poor performance and address it effectively is key to improving your team’s output.

This blog post will explore ways how to manage staff who are not performing so they can reach their full potential. From understanding why someone may be underperforming, communicating expectations clearly, developing an action plan, motivating employees, and taking corrective action when necessary, these strategies provide insight into how leaders should approach managing staff who are not meeting expectations successfully.

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How to Manage Staff Who Are Not Performing Well at Work

Poor performance can have a detrimental effect on an organization, so it is important for managers to understand how to manage staff who are not performing as expected.

Identify the Cause

The first step in addressing poor performance is understanding what caused it. Common causes include lack of motivation, inadequate training or resources, unclear expectations, or personal issues such as health problems or family stressors. It’s important for managers to take time to talk with employees about their concerns and identify any underlying issues that may be contributing to the problem.

Assess the Impact

Once you’ve identified potential causes of poor performance, it’s essential to assess how they are impacting your organization. This could include lost productivity due to missed deadlines or decreased morale among other employees who must pick up the slack when someone isn’t performing well. Taking stock of these impacts will help you determine how best to address them going forward.

Communicate Expectations

It is important for managers to set clear guidelines about what is expected of their employees, including performance goals, deadlines, job duties, and other responsibilities. This helps create a sense of structure and accountability within the workplace.

For example, if an employee’s job involves customer service tasks such as answering phones or responding to emails in a timely manner, it should be made explicitly clear how long they have before they need to respond or what kind of response is expected from them.

Providing regular feedback on performance can help keep employees motivated and on track with meeting their goals. This could include positive reinforcement when an employee does something well, and constructive criticism when there’s room for improvement.

Having periodic check-ins with each team member allows managers to address any issues quickly so that solutions can be implemented right away.

Encouraging open dialogue creates an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves within the office space. This will also allow managers to gain valuable insight into how their staff members think, which can help them better understand why certain decisions were made or why certain tasks weren’t completed correctly.

For instance, if an employee isn’t meeting deadlines, a manager might ask questions like “What challenges have you been facing?” or “How can I help you meet your goal?” to gain further understanding instead of simply reprimanding them without context.

Key Takeaway: Leaders should use effective communication to successfully manage staff who are not performing. This includes setting clear guidelines, providing regular feedback, and encouraging open dialogue.

Develop an Action Plan

When it comes to how to manage staff who are not performing, a manager should create a plan of action that is tailored to the individual’s needs. This plan should include specific goals and objectives, as well as timelines for completion. It should also outline any resources or support needed to help the employee achieve success.

Once the plan has been created, make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. Regular check-ins with the employee can help keep them on track and provide feedback when necessary. Additionally, managers should be prepared to take corrective action if needed.

Managers must monitor progress regularly in order to ensure that employees are meeting expectations. If they are not making sufficient progress, then adjustments may need to be made in order for them to reach their goals. These adjustments could include additional training or coaching sessions, more frequent check-ins with management, or other forms of support such as mentoring programs or team-building activities.

Motivate Employees to Improve Performance

Motivating employees to improve performance is an important part of how to manage staff who are not performing. Recognizing achievements and celebrating successes can help motivate employees to reach their goals.

Offering rewards and incentives for improved performance is another way to motivate employees. These rewards could include monetary bonuses, gift cards, extra time off work, or even public recognition at a company event. Incentives should be tailored to the individual employee’s needs and interests in order to make sure they are meaningful and effective.

Encouraging collaboration and teamwork among staff members can also help boost morale and productivity in the workplace. Creating team-building activities that foster communication between coworkers can help build trust within the group while providing opportunities for problem-solving practice.


Take Corrective Action When Necessary

There are times when corrective action needs to be taken. Documenting poor performance and following protocols for discipline is the first step in taking corrective action. This should include a written record of any instances of misconduct or unsatisfactory work performance.

Exploring alternative solutions to address poor performance can also help improve the situation without resorting to termination. Depending on the severity of the issue, this could involve providing additional training or resources, changing job duties, or offering more support from supervisors and colleagues. If these strategies do not result in improvement after an appropriate amount of time has passed, then termination may become necessary as a last resort option.

Terminating employment should only be done if all other attempts at improving employee performance have failed. When terminating an employee due to poor performance, it is important that all disciplinary actions are consistent with company policies and applicable laws to avoid potential legal issues.


How to manage staff who are not performing is one of the most difficult tasks for an office manager. However, with the right strategies in place, you can help your employees reach their potential and become more productive members of your team.

Are you struggling to manage staff who are underperforming? If so, is here to help! Our resources provide practical advice on how to become a better manager and leader.

We offer step-by-step guidance that can be applied in any situation – from small teams all the way up to large organizations. With our support, you’ll gain the skills needed for the successful management of your team and improved performance overall. Visit us now at and start improving today!