4 steps to deal with an underperforming employee

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Has this ever happened during your career as a hiring manager?

You hired a stellar candidate through Jobstreet that has an excellent resume, answered all the questions correctly in the interviews, and displayed a great personality. Fast forwards four months later, the same candidate is struggling with the workload, doesn’t mingle with the rest of the company, and underperforms.

As a hiring manager, you have to solve this problem before it severely affects the company’s performance. Depending on your approach to the obstacle, it could end with both parties happy, or it could turn into an ugly situation.

There’s no perfect solution to handling an underperforming employee, but here are some steps you can take:

Bring up the underperformance immediately

As soon as you notice the new hire underperforming, you should speak to them. Avoid an emotional confrontation and communicate in a calm tone. Listen to what they have to say after bringing up the issue and allow them to explain.

If you don’t handle the issue immediately, you are implying that this underperforming behaviour is acceptable. It also sets a bad example to others in the company.

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Figure out their motivation

One of the reasons why an employee underperforms is a lack of motivation, and it’s important for leaders to figure out what gives their employees the drive to work.

Get to know the underperforming employee and try to understand their goals and aspirations. Based on their responses, ensure that they have the right roles in the company and support their journey.

Give them proper training

Training courses are beneficial to you and your employees because not only will your employees gain new skills, but it also proves that you care about their development.

Pay attention to their learning styles. Do they prefer attending courses? Or do they like to shadow others in action? You can also ask the employee if you need to improve the training in any way.

Reward improved performance

Once you see signs of improvement in their performance, remember to acknowledge their success and congratulate them. The worst you can do is never appreciate their hard work, further alienating them.

You can reward these employees with financial incentives, movie tickets, or sometimes even a “thank you” can go a long way.


You may try your best, but all hiring managers have the unavoidable possibility of letting someone go. If the employee’s performance doesn’t improve even after you tried everything, it’s probably the better choice to let them go as their underachievements can affect others negatively. This decision should always be the last resort.

Find the perfect employee today at https://www.jobstreet.com.my/en/cms/employer/.

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