Managers are ill-equipped to deal with underperformance

The majority of managers are not competent enough to confront underperforming employees, according to a survey by XpertHR.

The research found that the development of managers’ “performance conversation” skills is only mandatory at 20% of organisations, despite this being considered an important aspect of performance management training.

According to XpertHR, this may explain why 45% of employers said that the majority of their managers are not competent enough to deal with underperformance.

XpertHR training editor and author of the report, Charlotte Wolff, said: “Employee underperformance is an issue that affects nine in 10 of the organisations in our research, and the HR community is in broad agreement that the competence and confidence of line managers is a vital part of the performance management process.

“It is surprising therefore to find that one-third of employers have trained fewer than half their managers in any performance management skills.”

Analysis of employers that have been most successful in tackling underperformance found that the most effective performance management training included drama-based role-play, the development of coaching skills and follow-up learning opportunities.

The survey found that performance management training most frequently covered the appraisal system, and how to use the capability and disciplinary procedures. This was the case at 80% of respondents.

Training in how to conduct a difficult conversation is offered by 71%, but this is more likely to be voluntary. Coaching skills are offered at 61% and are mandatory at just 13%.

For more information, view the report on XpertHR.

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