Dealing with poor performance (informally)

News on 23 October 2018

At some point, there will be an employee who isn’t performing as they should be, and it’s much more common than you think.

Having these conversations with employees can be daunting, especially if you’ve not done them before. The first thing to remember is that it’s not personal.

Have a look at where their performance is failing and collect the facts. If they have targets, what are their targets and how far behind are they? If they're producing letters etc. that have mistakes, get copies of these to show as examples.

What do you do now you have the facts?

If you're not sure of the best way to approach the situation, then give this sequence a try:

  • Arrange to meet with them in a private room
  • When you meet with the employee, you’ll need to take evidence of the mistakes / areas that their performance is failing
  • Go through each mistake or issue and explain what is wrong, what you expect, and how they can improve
  • Ask them if they understand the processes they need to follow?
  • Do they need any training?
  • Agree a plan to move forwards. This can include setting them targets, agreeing dates for training, and telling them how long the review period will be.
    • This needs to be reasonable (e.g. 4 – 6 weeks)

Was the employee trained properly?

One of the hardest parts about managing someone’s poor performance is admitting that you might not have given them all the tools they need to do their job. If they have not been trained how to do something, how can they know what they are supposed to do? A lot of the time, providing more training and support will turn the performance around.

Keep an eye on their performance through the review period. If you’ve agreed to give them training or support, then make sure you do it.


If you need a templated letter to amend for your business, download one from our online documents. If you need our help delivering that decision, call us on 02920 090500.