Managing Poor Performance

In my Human Resources role, I frequently have the unfortunate task of either addressing underperforming employees directly or counseling managers to address employee performance. Understanding how to address underperforming employees from a biblical perspective is different than simply following an organizational process of discipline or, conversely, turning a blind eye to ungodly behavior or poor performance out of “patience and love.” There is a loving balance between accountability and mercy that we are to seek in addressing most of the employee performance issues you will deal with.

Employees who struggle in their work performance fall into several different categories for a variety of reasons. A single-formula approach to every situation rarely achieves the desired result, which is to have an employee who meets or exceeds the expectations of the role. Some specific instances of poor performance could include:

  • An employee refuses to perform the job per his manager’s direction.
  • A struggling employee has a sincere desire to do the job well but just doesn’t have the skill-set required for the role.
  • A long-term employee may be unusually negligent while going through a difficult personal situation. 
  • An employee is blatantly insubordinate, or constantly berating and abusive to co-workers and management.

Many managers hesitate to confront poor performers or, when they do, go from “zero to sixty” in addressing the poor performance, ineffectively swinging the pendulum from one extreme to the other. These managers typically make some attempt to work with the employee behind the scenes, but to no avail. This only results in frustration for both the employee and the manager. 

Read the whole chapter in Biblical HR.

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Dennis J. Trittin
President – LifeSmart Publishing, Author – What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead