How to have the “underperforming” chat with staff.

How to have the “underperforming” chat with staff.


A realignment conversation is a diplomatic way of telling a staff member there performance has been under power or dipped over an extended period of time. For many HR advisors, this conversation can be a little awkward to say the least, although delaying this interaction not only negatively affects the employee but also the business. The quicker an HR advisor offers clarity to the employee, the quicker the employee can improve and get back on track.



If done correctly, realignment conversations have the ability to create a behavioural change in the employee’s activity. When carrying out a realignment conversation you should:



What is expected? – It may be clear to you if a staff member is underperforming, but most likely the underperforming staff member is unaware of their poor performance. To begin your realignment conversation you should clarify what the expected performance looks like and how that performance is evaluated.


What has caused it? – There is a  number of reasons why an employee’s performance could have dropped. An obvious culprit COVID19. It is vital you give the employee every opportunity to explain their situation, problem and by doing so can lead to identifying a solution.


Work with, not against. – It is important to be sympathetic and understanding of the employee’s situation. At this point as an employer, you could review an alternative strategy or workload to help change the employee’s behaviour and performance.  Listen to feedback from the employee as they may have some ideas that you hadn’t thought of. You want to get them back on track and if they feel involved in the process then they are more likely to be motivated.



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COVID19 & Underperforming


The UK has now been in lockdown for a staggering 11 weeks. Working from home now seems like normality and I’m sure if you have already returned to work or are planning to return to work, the thought of getting back into a ‘normal’ routine may be quite daunting.


Literally overnight, employees and businesses found their schedules, routines and working patterns having to be re-invented amidst daily Covid-19 updates. Now 11 to 12 weeks into the pandemic lockdown what seemed to be temporary changes in behaviour and work routines are now becoming established. We know that habits can take three weeks to form and not all habits during the lockdown are necessarily positive for the business.


Now is the time to review employee performance and to address where and how habits are working for or against the business. Strengthen what is working especially for those working from home who are adapting robust patterns of work behaviour. For others, a conversation around new ways of being productive will need to occur.


Many managers, HR professionals and business owners are very aware that the Covid-19 lockdown is having a real impact on their employees. Physically and emotionally employees are managing many stressors one of which includes a desire to bring their best performance into a new workplace and changing reality. Given that habits can form and remain persistent that may prevent your employee from being at their best, supportive yet clarifying conversation may be needed.


If you would like further information on how to structure a conversation like this or would like any other form of HR support, please contact us using our socials below.



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