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As a manager, the productivity and performance of your employees is one of your top priorities. When an employee is not meeting your expectations or the goals of the position, it becomes necessary to have an honest conversation with him, providing constructive feedback and a performance improvement plan.


Having a talk with an employee about his less-than-satisfactory performance can be difficult at best and downright unpleasant at worst, but it is an essential step toward helping him achieve his full potential.


  • Schedule a time where you and the employee can have an uninterrupted, private discussion. Express to the employee that there are aspects of his job performance that need improvement, and you will work with him, step by step, to make the necessary changes.


  • Specify exactly what is unacceptable in his performance and the reasons why it is a problem. Cite specific examples and avoid generalizations.


  • Now that you have talked about what needs to change in the employee’s behavior, start to outline the performance improvement plan. Define the level of work performance that is expected of him on a regular basis, and state exactly what needs to happen in the future. Break it down into smaller steps or points. For example, if the employee is having problems with punctuality and focus at work, some steps might be:


  • You will arrive at exactly 9 a.m., no later
  • You will turn your cell phone on vibrate during the work day and take personal calls only when absolutely necessary
  • Together we will outline your weekly tasks and set attainable deadlines for each


  • Identify the support you will provide to help the employee in the future. Schedule meeting times for the two of you to meet, discuss feedback and evaluate how the performance improvement plan is progressing.


  • Set a date in 30 or 60 days from now to meet again and determine if the performance standards have been met. Specify what the next steps will be if performance is still below the set standards.




Learn more about EDSI’s Communicating to Manage Performance  course.

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