September 30, 2017 By Suzanne Robertson

Employees who consistently hit goals (sales, productivity, conversion, etc.), are usually recognized and rewarded.

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On the other hand, underperforming employees might experience anxiety, guilt and feelings of inadequacy. If you have small business employees struggling to hit their respective marks, don’t immediately show them the door. Use some of the following actions to address performance issues. Listen and Take Action To save someone from underperforming, you need to unravel if there’s something bothering him.

Are your expectations too high? Are there not enough resources to complete tasks effectively? The best way to discover the problem is to address head on. Set a personal meeting and start the conversation on a light tone, before progressing to the more serious topic. Once you know the problem, you can work together to come up with a strategy to move forward. An excerpt from Inc.’s article “ The Importance of Listening to Your Employees” states that “the worst thing an employer can do is to ask for input but ignore it.” Reward Change Positive reinforcement will always come into play when asking an employee to up his performance. Non-financial rewards can include an enhanced sense of worth, bragging rights and improved office morale. Reiterate Job Requirements Remind your employees what’s expected. The conversation might follow this pattern:

  • What are your goals and metrics for success? This question aims to remind the underperforming employee the specifics and quantity of work expected from him.
  • Here’s why your work important to the overall company performance. Discuss the direct impact of his work to the company like net profit margin, profitability and efficiency ratios, etc. Encourage him to take responsibility.
  • What’s your present performance? Be honest about how your employee’s faring. Highlight critical areas that need immediate improvement.
  • What can we do about it? Let your employee know that they have your support as they improve. Offer resources like online webinars or outside classes if the employee is missing a particular skill set.
  • What’s the reward? Is it monetary incentives, provisions to work from home at times or other valued benefits? Whatever it is, something that goes beyond verbal recognition can be appreciated and motivating.

Check for Consistency

After the meeting, expect your employee to display the attitude and output of a solid performer. If it’s just a matter of days before performance and productivity waver, it’s time for a firm reminder. Recognize ‘Small Victories’ Don’t sweep baby steps or small victories under the rug. An unappreciated or undervalued employee probably won’t be a top performer. Verbal recognitions, together with team or company-wide congratulatory announcements, don’t cost a dime yet the confidence-boost can be immeasurable.

In Conclusion

Don’t immediately give up on employees as a small business owner. The treatment you want your small buisness employees to experience should be family-like. And as the head of that quasi-household, every member should be given a chance to improve and redeem himself. Author Bio Wade is an essayist at He incorporates nature's beauty in his writing. Besides excellence, he puts his lovely wife and two kids at the center of his craft. He is fond of physical contact sports and considers South America as a haven for tourists.

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