How To Manage Non-Performers

Performance is undoubtedly a critical factor in the workplace for all employees irrespective of their job level or position in the company. How performance is managed affects productivity and business growth; and the success of your business depends on the performance of your employees.  As a manager, performance management forms a huge part of your job; however, managing non-performers can be a challenge, especially when their under-performance persists.


Non-performers are employees whose performance is lacking. It can be traced through their behaviour and performance history in the organisation.

In today’s competitive business market, you cannot be reluctant on non-performing employees as this could have severe consequences on your business and even normalise under-performance in your company.

What You Need To Ask About Non-Performers Within Your Organisation

The age-old issue of non-performers needs to be looked at differently. The reality is that a person’s CV becomes outdated within 3 months of them joining your organisation – so you need to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you know enough about your current staff?
  2. For those that have been with the organisation – are they now feeling “stuck”’ within the same role that they have performed for year upon year?
  3. Are you doing enough to keep staff engaged?
  4. When last did you run a company engagement survey?


Underlying Reasons Why Employees Underperform

There are many reasons for non-performance, and more often than not, people are underperforming because they feel the lack of reward and recognition for what they are doing. It could also be that they do not understand the bigger strategic picture of the organisation so they feel disconnected from its core.


If you believe you have real non-performers, ask the questions above to be able to address them effectively. Perhaps start by asking your staff if they feel connected.  Do they have a voice? Are they on the same ’’boat’’ regarding the strategic intent of the company – what do they want?

How To Handle Non-Performers

Once you have identified the cause of your employees’ non-performance, apply measures to deal with the problem. Here are some techniques you can use to handle non-performers.   


  • Assess employee’s performance behaviour, identify areas that need improvement and provide training accordingly.
  • Communication and feedback on where they need to improve are vital. Refrain from generic feedback, customize the solution to solve the problem – be clear and specific.
  • Sometimes a non-performer needs to be mentored or coached or upskilled. Have a conversation with them – don’t avoid it.  By engaging first – you may be able to turn a non-performer into a top performing staff member.
  • Keep tracking their performance. When poor performance is not addressed for a long period, it can turn into a major issue so regular tracking helps you to look out for areas that need improvement and you can address them sooner than later.


Final Thoughts On How To Manage Non-Performers


It is key to have a regular transparent feedback system and stay eagle-eyed at all times. You should not wait for the scheduled company performance reviews as the issue might require urgent attention, and failure to do deal with it efficiently may affect your business. Having regular checks and addressing them immediately will help you understand, and look at managing non-performers not as a challenge but as an opportunity to coach, mentor and develop your employees.


What mechanisms are you using to manage non-performing employees within your organisation? Share with us in the comment section.

The African Talent Company

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