How to Handle Employee Underperformance in the Hybrid Workplace

Posted by Trakstar • May 16, 2023 • 7 min read

As companies continue to embrace the hybrid workplace model, where employees work from home and in the office, there has been a noticeable increase in cases of employee underperformance. This metric comes as no surprise given that this new way of working requires a different set of skills and habits than we were used to before. As an employer or manager, it’s crucial to effectively identify and address any instances of employee underperformance. Employee performance is something we think about a lot here at Trakstar. Managers can handle performance issues by investing in a performance management system with robust features that support underperforming employees, help identify performance issues, and helps Human Resources understand their human capital.

If you are ready for performance management software, you can click here to schedule a demo of Trakstar Perform.

This blog post will discuss underperformance, its causes in the hybrid workplace, and how to manage it efficiently. So read on if you want your employees to thrive, regardless of location!

Defining Employee Underperformance

Defining underperformance can be tricky as it varies depending on individual roles, performance goals, and expectations. However, in general terms, employee underperformance refers to a situation where an employee fails to meet the set standards of their job. It could mean not delivering targets within the expected timelines or producing sub-standard work output. It’s vital to know job descriptions, set clear expectations, and model what improvement looks like to determine poor performance. Having these things in place will also help with creating an action plan or a performance improvement plan for underperforming employees.

It’s important to note that occasional dips in performance are standard and not necessarily indicative of long-term issues. Leaders may want to look at overall performance review scores, changes in the work environment, and additional training opportunities before blaming a struggling employee. On the other hand, consistent patterns of underperformance may signal deeper underlying problems that need addressing.

Underperformance should also be distinguished from situations where employees have been given unrealistic tasks or workloads beyond their capacity. Quiet quitting and burnout are huge causes of underperformance and need to be addressed – usually within an informal meeting or a manager check-in before a more formal plan develops. In such instances, managers and superiors must re-evaluate their expectations and provide support for successful outcomes.

Communication is Key

Ultimately, defining underperformance requires clear communication between employers and employees regarding what is expected of them at work. Being transparent about objectives helps create a culture of accountability while minimizing misunderstandings that lead to poor performance outcomes.

To learn how to tackle the underperformance issue using a formalized review system, constructive feedback, and SMART goals while setting specific task items for your employees after a review, you can click here to schedule a demo of Trakstar Perform.

Employee Underperformance Blog

Causes of Underperformance in the Hybrid Workplace

The hybrid workplace isn’t going anywhere. Apart from offering flexibility and convenience to employees, companies can hire top talent from anywhere in the world and save money on office space. However, it also poses challenges that may lead to underperformance. Here are some reasons why this can happen:


Firstly, communication issues can arise when working remotely. Misunderstandings or lack of clarity on expectations due to poor communication can result in subpar performance. Be sure to give specific examples when talking about a performance problem, have a system of truth regarding expectations, and have a documented way to track workplace underperformance, job descriptions, key performance indicators (KPIs), and any improvement plans you have in place.


Secondly, the work environment at home may need to be more conducive to productivity. Distractions such as family members or household chores could affect an employee’s focus and concentration. Offer tips for improvement and set clear expectations for what your organization expects as a working environment. Every staff member will be able to personalize their environment, but knowing what leads to low morale or contributes to success in a home office may be helpful for leaders having these conversations.


Thirdly, technology glitches such as internet connectivity issues or hardware problems could hamper an employee’s ability to perform their tasks efficiently. As part of the hiring process, tell applicants working from home that they need to have internet and Wi-Fi with enhanced functionality. Many companies working remotely will have internet stipends as part of the benefits package.


Fourthly, social isolation is another factor that could cause underperformance among remote workers. With little interaction with colleagues and supervisors outside of virtual meetings or chats, employees might feel disconnected from the company culture and less motivated to excel in their job duties. If you feel like low morale is creeping into the team, identify some ways to foster relationships on your team. If you aren’t a leader, you can suggest team building on your next engagement survey. 

It could also be that your employee is bored! Enroll them in training, get them on a leadership track, or see if they have additional skills you can tap.

Identifying the causes of underperformance is crucial for companies implementing a hybrid workplace model. By addressing these issues proactively through effective communication channels and providing support where necessary can help prevent potential loss of productivity by remote workers. Remember that motivation isn’t something we all have naturally, so you may need to be creative in tackling workplace underperformance.

If you’re a leader, finding ways to document employees’ underperformance is critical. You need to show that you’ve done everything you can to improve skills, address departmental issues, and give feedback to an underperforming employee.

Employee Underperformance Blog

Addressing Employee Underperformance

Addressing underperformance in the hybrid workplace can be a tricky task for managers and supervisors. With employees working remotely or in a combination of office and home settings, it can be challenging to identify why an employee is not meeting expectations.

So how can we have those tricky conversations?

The first step is to set clear employee performance standards and expectations. This includes regular feedback sessions with remote workers and check-ins on progress towards goals. Providing regular performance evaluations will help identify areas where employees need additional support or training. We suggest setting standards for employee performance during their onboarding period and then following up during each performance review cycle. If you’re only doing reviews once a year, consider how employee performance could improve with mid-year reviews, for example.

Creating an open communication channel between management and staff is also essential. Encouraging team members to express their concerns about work-related issues without fear of retaliation can go a long way in identifying potential problems early on. Managers should also provide constructive criticism when needed while ensuring they remain respectful. Performance management software can help create those clear lines of communication. Trakstar Perform also has a built-in Employee Engagement module that helps managers and leaders check in with employees anonymously. This will help them express their true feelings and can lead to explanations about a performance issue, whether or not you have clear goals, equitable distribution of performance standards, skill-building opportunities, and more.

Employers may consider providing additional resources, such as training opportunities or mentorship programs to improve employee skills. Management may also reassign tasks better suited for individual strengths/weaknesses. Filling in skills gaps, undergoing company-wide employee training, and ensuring that all employees’ performance metrics will be measured can also help.

Think About Employee Retention

Before a dismissal or disciplinary action, have a conversation with your employee. Set up a performance improvement plan, if necessary, or work with your employee to improve the performance issue. To be comfortable doing this, having routine check-ins and performance discussions will keep the lines of communication clear – and potentially save your organization from legal issues.

Recognizing good behavior goes hand-in-hand with addressing poor performance; praising good job performances encourages continued excellence from your team members while reinforcing positive behaviors among your colleagues.

These strategies form excellent starting points when dealing with underperformance within the hybrid workplace setting, leading to increased productivity, happier workplaces, and better company culture.

Ready to Improve Employee Performance?

Handling underperformance in the hybrid workplace can be challenging for any employer or manager. But with proper understanding and communication, it is possible to overcome these challenges.

It is important to remember that every employee has unique strengths and weaknesses. And as an employer, it’s your responsibility to help them succeed by creating a supportive work environment where they are motivated to perform at their best.

Remember that addressing underperformance is about pointing out mistakes and finding solutions with your employees. Doing so will foster a culture of honesty, openness, trust, and collaboration within your organization – all of which contribute significantly towards achieving success as a team!

It all starts with a solid foundation. Trakstar Perform, and the entire Trakstar Platform, can help your organization get aligned, stay aligned, and improve performance together. Click here to schedule a demo.

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