Healthy intolerance is the key to performance issues

Your ‘Tough Love’ survey regarding under-performing staff (Personnel Today, 14 February) will touch a raw nerve with organisations of all types and sizes.

Many employers tend to brush problems under the carpet rather than deal with them. Our own research shows that 75% of UK bosses and almost 79% of their staff believe that employees who consistently under-perform are a major concern. But if the problem is so widely recognised, why aren’t employers addressing it?

It’s not right just to blame managers, as many of them are simply not equipped with the skills to deal with such difficult issues, and, therefore, lack the confidence to do so. This is a key issue. To enhance performance management within their organisations, employers must review the way they develop, support and evaluate their managers to ensure that they are prepared for scenarios they may face and feel able to deal with them when they arise. This is the only way to ensure that managing poor performance is a normal part of management culture.

Employers must develop a culture that tackles rather than tolerates poor performance, because employees who don’t pull their weight can breed resentment, sap motivation and cripple productivity. Equipping managers to put policies into practice is a vital part of this process.

Ruth Spellman
Chief executive,
Investors in People

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