4 Strategies to Save an Under-Performing Employee

As difficult as it may be to find, hire, and train good employees in today’s competitive marketplace, a solid strategy of how to handle under-performing employees can be critical to building an effective team.

Keeping the adage “Hire slowly & fire quickly” in mind, are we pulling the trigger too soon? Are there employees who can be saved with the proper procedures in place? By letting these team members go too quickly, are we wasting the time, energy, and capital that it took to hire and onboard them?

When working with an employee who just isn’t “getting it done,” consider these four strategies before moving toward termination.

Mentor Program

The most effective tool in retaining and training an employee with potential is a mentor program where, twice a week, the employee in question shadows a top-performing employee; picking up their techniques, processes, efficiencies, and drive to succeed. Throwing in an incentive for the mentor can go a long way as well.

DISC Profile

Using DISC profiles in the hiring process can help identify strengths and weaknesses in job candidates before bringing them on. But these profiles don’t stop there. There are sections within the profile that detail the best way to communicate and motivate employees based on their DISC results.

Perhaps this data can help you reach out to an under-performing employee to determine the best course of action when considering how to get them back to track.

Change Position

With the DISC profile mentioned above in mind, perhaps the employee just isn’t in the right position within your company. Poor salespeople might make a great office assistant, a technician who seems great with clients but falls short mechanically might be your next sales superstar.

You hired these people for a reason. If you find good, hard working people for your business, consider alternate roles within your organization before terminating them altogether.

Setting Measurable Goals

No matter what strategy you use, set attainable and measurable goals as part of your corrective action plan. These aren’t goals you put out on the bulletin board for everyone to see; these are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that the employee in question agrees to (in writing), and they are used going forward with management, HR, or whomever might be involved.


Terminating an employee is one of the most difficult things to do as a business owner. Its stressful and can be disruptive to the success of your business. One thing that will put your mind at-ease is to know you did everything you could to “save” the employee in question before having to make that tough decision.

Build your own corrective action plan and process and implement it as quickly as possible. Hang on to those great employees, as we all know how difficult it is to replace them.

What’s Your Plan?

We would love to hear some of your corrective action strategies out there. What do you do when you have an employee who needs to be “saved?” Please comment below!

Written by RLO Training