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How to Help Low-Performing Employees

Published Fri Feb 10 2023


On any team there are going to be high performers and low performers. The highest performers are the ones that are the most productive, easiest to work with and fit best into career advancement tracks. It's what to do with the latter group that's a challenge. Conventional wisdom is to think about replacing them; however, the cost of replacing a low-performing employee can be astronomical, and it might hamstring your team if that individual has institutional knowledge or skills that are in high demand. Instead, consider how you can best help them. It's exceedingly rare that low performers are in their position because they are lazy or incompetent. It's up to managers to diagnose the problem and work collaboratively with the employee to get them to where they need to be. Often, the ultimate problem is a skills deficit. If you don't have the skills - soft or hard - to work with others, you're going to find it difficult to perform your job well. Training, coaching, and encouragement will help low-performing employees stretch and learn new skill sets to increase their abilities and effectiveness at work.

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