My encounter with poor performing staff

It is not an easy process when recruiting staff from the labour market. The market is imperfect and it has both good and bad potential employees.  Many of the potential candidates are the products of the academic spoon feeding program running from primary school through to institutions of higher learning. Some of the candidates have been coached and they are therefore prepared for the interview. Their curriculum vitae have been massaged to meet the requirements of the advertised position. They have also dressed up properly for the occasion.  Over years I have recruited a few people with pleasant character but unfortunately poor performers.  Time comes when I have to terminate their services for non performance.  This has always been an extremely difficult moment for me especially if the organisation does not have staff processes in place. Proper system for recruitment, training, retention and disengagement always make easy to handle staff matters.  I have also noted that the difficult of terminating staff increases with the period the staff has stayed in the organisation.  When a non performer is not terminated in time may indicate a failure in the organisation’s processes. I have also found it a challenge of terminating staff and at the time recruiting them as ambassadors of organisation through the alumni club. Therefore one has to handle the termination process in the most humane manner but at the time not compromising with the systems of the organisation. In the article I am highlighting a few areas I have found useful in my encounter with non performing staff.

Background information is very vital

I have always tried to find out as much information on the candidate during the interview. Knowing the background of the candidate has always been handy as the character of a person is shaped during the home and schooling period. This is when formal and informer education takes root in the mind of a person.  The people the candidate has associated with may have either a positive or negative impact on the candidate.   I have always tried to have an idea on the quality of education the candidate has attained as certificates are not enough.


The employee processes

The quality of staff will also depend on the type of recruitment, training, retention and disengagement process the organisation has in place. Proper and adequate processes tend to attract quality staff.  Mediocre candidates tend to target organisations without adequate human resources processes. It becomes easier to deal with non performers when you are following established processes. The purpose of processes is to remove any uncertainty and ambiguity.


Give feedback

You cannot dismiss any staff without giving the staff in question adequate feedback and a chance to improve performance.  The non performer must be taken through a proper counselling and coaching process.  The organisation must demonstrate its interest in the staff.  I have come to observe many non performers will resign and go on their own when they know they cannot survive the established system.


Current and former staff are ambassadors

The most active aspects of an organisation are the human resources. They connect the organisation to the outside world. The staff can either make or destroy the image of the organisation. Make sure the staff who are leaving the organisation are recruited as ambassadors before they leave. They must be told the reasons why the organisation is terminating their services. They must also be informed that the termination of their services does not mean the end of the road but provides them with an opportunity to look for an appropriate employer. They must be assured that the organisation will give them references when searching for another employer.




John Muhaise Bikalemesa

Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited