By:  Carol Nibley

Ideally, employers hire employees who can and will do the jobs for which they are hired. Occasionally, an employer may find that the candidate really doesn’t have the requisite skills for the position. In ideal circumstances, a training solution can help close the performance gap. If training doesn’t provide the needed improvement, a transfer to a different position or termination of employment are other options. Keeping an underperforming employee on the team creates a potential loss of productivity and/or poor morale on the part of others who pick up the slack.

More difficult usually is the employee with a bad attitude who, for whatever reason, chooses not to do what is required. Skills training will not fix a poor attitude.

The chart below outlines the process for managing unacceptable performance issues, whether they are caused by an ability deficit (“can’t do) or a motivation deficit (won’t do). Notice that in either case, employees must be accountable for their performance, even if the performance issue is a bad attitude. “Grumbling Gary” needs to understand how his attitude impacts others and ultimately his own long-term success on the job. Use this guide to help you with your next challenging employee situation and see what happens.


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