Definition of Underperformance
The negative deviation of work output of the employees from predetermined work standards in an organization is known as underperformance (Ramesh & Vasuki, 2013). It is a workplace phenomenon in which the employee is unable to meet the job requirements. The performance level is not up to the mark. The various parameters of the job such as working results, quality of the job, productivity are not satisfied in the event of underperformance (Ramesh & Vasuki, 2013). This phenomenon decreases the efficiency of the employees, and they are unable to produce optimum output. This makes the particular employee less valuable to the company.
Causes of underperformance
There may be several reasons for employee underperformance. It may be deliberate or non-voluntary. The major reasons are described below
- Lack of skills and expertise of the employees- The employees may not have sufficient talent to fulfill the requirements of the job (Amankwah-Amoah, Ifere & Nyuur 2016). He may be unable to cope up with the demands of the job.
- Demoralization- The organizational work environment may not be good enough for the employee to deliver their best results (Kesten, 2012). The lack of motivation may cause the employees to perform inefficiently.
- Insufficient effort- The employees may not give required effort, and they may be too lazy to perform a job. The chances are that the employees do not follow organizational discipline, and they engage in workplace grapevine that causes negligence in the job (Mafini & Pooe, 2013).
- Distractions- The increasing distractions in the workplace may cause the employees unable to concentrate on their work (Ramesh & Vasuki, 2013). The lack of dedication, concentration, and engagement towards the job, hampers the performance of the employees.
Case study – Service provider
In this case study, the onus of “underperformance” can be put on the “service provider” known as “People Power” as it was unable to deliver the required work outcomes. It was taking a long time to complete the recruitment process, which is affecting the smooth functioning of the company. The longer it takes to fill a particular position, the greater is the loss to the organization as there is a decreased productivity (Berman et al., 2015). The service provider is unable to complete the three mandatory reference checks, which shows the lack of time management and the lack of conformance to the organizational rules. Instead of focusing on their performances, they are providing some lame excuses by saying that the additional reference checks are proving to be a burden to them. There is poor coordination between the organization and the service provider, which is causing a great deal of confusion. The service provider is providing misleading information to the employees regarding the remuneration policy. This not only acts as a stumbling block for the potential candidates, but it also affects the brand image of the organization (Berman et al., 2015). There are no sufficient training procedures as specified in the SLA. These issues are causing a reduction in the motivational levels of the employees. All these factors affect the organizational productivity, which is causing a hindrance to the organizational success.
Case study – Line manager
This case study discusses the "underperformance" of the sales managers. Their performance is not fulfilling the predetermined standards of the recruitment process. The single most important factor for the underperformance is the inability to follow the deadlines. They are unable to submit the candidate request forms within the stipulated time. They are also required to submit the personal details forms of the employees, which they are unable to do. It is an important aspect of the recruitment process to assess the background of the candidates. The inability to perform this task is resulting “not so competent” candidates in the organization, which is again deteriorating the organizational performance. The line managers are not adhering to the deadlines, and they are delaying the submission of the final selection checklist. This is causing a delay in the selection of the candidates and their subsequent joining. This is caused by the lack of training and lack of motivation. They are not provided any training regarding how to complete the checklist and hence they are unaware of the process (James & Lucky, 2015). This also makes them feel that completing the checklist is an additional burden for them. This kind of delay is causing a delay in the closing of the open vacancies, which is ultimately affecting the productivity of the organization.
Case study – HR Officer
This case study highlights the inability of the HR officer to deliver optimum performance in the workplace. His performance is deemed inadequate in the organization. This is measured by several parameters. He is required to provide correct information on compensation with benefits. However, he is failing to do so. He must give accurate advice on training and follow the organizational policy on performance management. However, he has not fulfilled these requirements and provided incorrect information as well not conformed to the organizational rules. He was not paying attention to the needs of the managers, and this made him unable to fulfill the needs of the customers. The HR officer is required to work in collaboration with the business managers so that the business goals are fulfilled (Monks et al., 2013). However, this was not the case. He was not improving the capability of the workforce, which was a serious performance breach.
The process of underperformance can be managed effectively, which is best for the business and the employees. The underperformance of one employee or a group of employees can cause a reduction in the work performance of others (Fairwork.gov.au, 2016). This is the reasons the organization should take active steps in managing the issue
- Identification of the problem to understand the key reasons of the poor performance of the employees (gov.au, 2016).
- Assessment of the problem deals with parameters such as the seriousness of the issue, duration of the issue and the gap between expected/demonstrated performance (gov.au, 2016) .
- Face to face discussion with the concerned employee is required to clearly understand the nature of the problem and answer the questions- what, why, how and when (gov.au, 2016).
- Devising a suitable solution in consultation with the concerned employee. This should be done by exploring new ideas, emphasizing a common ground, focusing on positive outcomes and offering assistance (gov.au, 2016).
- Evaluate the performance of the employees after the improvements and continue providing encouragement and feedback.
The poor performers should be carefully dealt with by reinforcing the worth of the job role that they are playing. The human resource department should design career development of the employees and provide them adequate training (Fairwork.gov.au, 2016). They should also convey the importance of performance expectations and interrelations with the organizational success.
Termination of employment
The organization holds the right to terminate an employee if he doesn't show any signs of improvement of performance even after training and performance improvement workshops (Steingold, 2015). The employers cannot perform unfair dismissals of the employees and under unreasonable or harsh situations. However, they can give reasons for dismissals and a chance to the employees to respond.
Performance management activities
An organization cannot afford to have poor performance management in the organization. The following steps should be taken to address the issue of underperformance
Engage with development plan- The development plan of the employees should be an integral part of the performance management process. The development plan should identify various activities such as coaching, training, on the job learning, e-learning modules and others that could foster the performance of the employees. In the first case study, the service provider should be given adequate training about the timely completion of the recruitment by following all the specifications (Hallinan et al., 2016). The coordination process with the organization should be made clear to them, and their knowledge base regarding compensation and benefits should be evaluated (Berman et al., 2015). In the second case study, the line managers should be made aware of their development plans by showcasing the importance of adhering to the deadlines.
Implementation of pay for performance- The compensation structure should be attractive enough to motivate the employees for enhanced performance (Bamberger Biron & Meshoulam, 2014). The performance management process should be linked with the compensation management system. The introduction of incentive schemes as per performance levels would foster better employee performance. It would also give an idea to the employees that the compensation scheme is fair and recognizes their hard work.
Creation of performance goals- In both the case studies, the employees didn’t have any performance goals. It is important to outline the performance targets of the individual employees (Sharma & Carney, 2012). It is also necessary to ask the employees about their requirement of new skills and subsequently taking an initiative to provide them the same. This would motivate them to work hard and constant improvement.
Empowerment of the employees- The employees should be shown a bigger picture of their respective job roles. He should realize the importance of his individual job role and how it would affect the organizational performance (Saks & Gruman, 2014). There should be employee engagement activities that would increase the motivation level of the employees (Saks & Gruman, 2014). The employees should be passionate about their job and not just do them for the sake of completing them. They should be more involved with the organizational decision making so that they would feel that they are important in their respective organizations (Shields et al., 2015). They should be able to visualize the long term perspectives rather than only concerning about day to day activities.
The performance management activities should adhere to the pre determined deadlines. The first step towards the performance management is the creation of the performance goals. It should start immediately after the appraisal process. The next step involves the development plans which would typically take one month. The execution of the development plan may take several months or up to one year. The third step that involves the implementation of attractive compensation structure would take around two months. The empowerment of the employees would take approximately six months to eight months.
The performance management activities should integrate smoothly with the values, policy and business ethics of the organization. The company’s vision, values, and mission should be communicated well to the employees. There should be sufficient ways of improving the channels of communication in the workplace. The performance management activities would involve four types of integration with the organization such as functional, vertical, goals and human resources. The functional integration deals with bringing together the plans and policies of the functional departments of the departments (Turkulainen & Ketokivi, 2012). The vertical integration consists of the alignment of the performance management objectives at the individual, team and the organizational levels (Rothaermel, 2015). The human resource integration consists of the effective combination of the performance management with the other subsets of the overall human resources function (Ulrich, 2013). The goal integration would integrate the performance management objectives with the aspirations of the managers as well as the vision of the organization (Zellweger et al., 2013). The performance management of the organization should undertake ethical ways of measuring the employee's performance which is by the organizational ethical guidelines. The implementation of the subsequently revised compensation structure satisfies the legal framework of the organization. It should follow the legal specifications of the particular country in which the organization is operating (Keller & Yeaple 2013).
The two organizations in the two case study should utilize several organizational resources. There should be reduced working capital if the workforce meets the desired performance criteria. There would be increased demand for the training tools such as lecture rooms, seminar halls, presentation, training manuals and others (Salas et al., 2012). There would also be a requirement of the operational manuals and the policy documents of the company. There is a need to implement an evaluation process for determining the current compensation structure of the employees. There is also need to perform a feasibility study to understand the new incentive scheme. In the first case study, there should be the implementation of adequate human resource software which would make the work of the work easier. It would aid them to perform the recruitment process in an efficient manner. It would also enable them to perform all the three compulsory reference checks promptly. In the second case study, the training tools would be used for providing clarifications to the employees regarding operational processes. The resources required for enhancing the employee motivation level are an innovative strategy, sharing of the organizational vision, support from immediate supervisors and others. It is also useful to conduct motivational sessions which enhance the inspirational levels of the employees.
The performance management is not an individual effort, and it requires the team work of several entities of the organization. The senior management must show enthusiasm in the process of performance management (Ulrich, 2013). They should be supportive of the new process of enhanced performance management and should communicate the same with the employees. The human resource manager should take key responsibilities in improving the performance of the concerned employees. In the given case studies, there were no evaluation mechanisms by the human resource managers that resulted in the low performance of the employees. They need to be accountable for their roles and find innovative methods to enhance the performance of the employees. The role of the immediate manager is also immense in this scenario. It is his inherent responsibility to reinforce as well as recognize the optimum performance of the employees (Bamberger, Biron & Meshoulam, 2014). He should be responsible for the feedback and ratings in the performance reviews. They must involve in regular and short meetings to discuss the important milestones as well as accomplishments of the team members.
Strategy/application of policy
Creation of performance goals
Online (Suitable softwares) or Offline (Notepads)
Engage with development plan
Training Tools, Presentation, Operational Manuals, Policy documents, Seminars
Implementation of pay for performance
Human Resource Integration
Evaluation of existing compensation packages
Senior management and HR
Innovative strategy, support, motivational videos, inspirational sessions
HR Department and Supervisor
The phenomenon of underperformance is a serious concern in the modern day performance. There are several driving forces behind the poor performance of the employees. The underperforming employees pose a serious threat to the organization. This is because these employees are not contributing fully to the organizational success. The backlog in their performance is impacting the overall functioning of the organizations. Hence, it is essential to manage the underperformance of the employees. This report gives a practical perspective of the issue through the application of the case studies. The action plan gives a detailed picture regarding the way the underperformances should be handled.
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