marginal employee

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Employees performing at a lower level (marginal employees) should be held to better standards.

Let’s start with identifying what “lower level” really means. Do you have employees in your office that are performing below the rest of your team?

Do you analyze, address and coach these marginal employees to reach a new level? Yes, or maybe?
Many factors play into how aggressively you push to get these employees to perform better.

In a job market where it is harder to find employees, many employers are electing to accept a lower work ethic in order to keep an employee in their office.
While this is justified, allowing employees to slide can create a bigger problem for your company as a whole; here is how:

  1. You are showing other employees what is acceptable. Allowing one employee to slide is showing everyone in the office that they can also slide and not be held accountable.

  2. You cannot let the marginal employee go whenever you want, especially if there is a better employee waiting to take their spot. Unless you have worked hard to document their actions and provide coaching along the way to help them become better, you cannot always simply fire someone when you want. Many times these are the people who don’t understand why they are being let go and will come back around with a lawsuit against you.

  3. You are setting a low standard for your organization. Typically when employees begin to see what is acceptable, they tend to reject incentives within the company to work harder. Therefore, you are spending more money trying to incentivize your employees for what would have cost you less, previously.

If you identify that you have a lower performer in your office, start by setting some goals to measure how that employee is doing.

Define these measurables by looking at what you expect and what is acceptable, based on what their co-workers are able to accomplish.

From that point, providing regular updates and recommendations through coaching will allow the employee to track their growth.

Then make sure you are writing up acceptable warnings when they are not meeting benchmarks and communicating this to the employee.

Over time, the hope is that this employee will identify areas they can improve on and work hard to grow. If the growth is not being seen, then the employee can be let go with proper documentation showing over time, how that employee was not able to perform appropriately.

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