Underperformance Blog

Team Performance Expectations and Outcomes

Some years ago, was instructed by a customer to remove and replace a resident service representative due to his poor performance. At the time, our company was going through big changes and I (as the supervisor) felt partially to blame, having been distracted with internal matters. Therefore, asked the customer to allow time to verify the under-performance was not due to action or inaction of the employer instead of the employee. The customer agreed.


To my way of thinking, the employer had failed in one way or another. Perhaps there was lack of employee training, or lack of employee support, or lack of communication, or the employee simply was not a good choice in the first place. In any case, no doubt that under-performance of the employee was at least partially to blame on the employer (me). To make matters worse, the customer recognized and raised a red flag first, so now the situation was reactive.


While that specific situation was ultimately resolved, I still believe the employer is at least partially responsible for employee under-performance. Therefore, termination of employment should not be done without undertaking some level of failure analysis to determine cause and cure (we do this for plant equipment...surely our people deserve same or better?). There are obvious exceptions including bad or repeated safety violations and/or criminal acts, but bilateral failure analysis before termination of employment should be the norm.