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What to do when an employee does not meet your expectations

There is a reason for awkward conversations to be called that way. Such conversation that you can't avoid is meeting up with an employee to let them know that their performance doesn't live ...

Published: 01/01/2023


There is a reason for awkward conversations to be called that way. Such conversation that you can't avoid is meeting up with an employee to let them know that their performance doesn't live up to your expectations. Although it is inconvenient, this conversation should happen as soon as possible so that you can quickly take control of the situation.

Have you ever been in such a situation before or are you about to have such a conversation with your subordinate? Jobbri comes to the rescue with some tips on how to deal with employees who do not meet your expectations.

Do some preliminary research

The first step that will help you deal with the situation is to make sure that you have done some preliminary research and are familiar with the different points of view. You can ask yourself the following four questions:

• Does the employee understand what the problem is?

• Is the level of performance understandable to them?

  • Does he know what will happen if deadlines and quality standards are not met?

Once you have answered these questions, it’s time to plan a personal conversation with the employee to find out their views on things. It’s most likely that there is a misunderstanding between the two of you that needs to be discussed. That way you will be able to determine where the problem comes from and how to approach it.


Invite the employee to a personal meeting

Start by asking your employees how they are doing. Then ask them to list the ways in which they measure their effectiveness and results. Based on what they say, you can draw the necessary conclusions and comment on the discrepancies that have arisen between you and their views.

From there on, you can use the meeting to discuss any inconsistencies between you and your employees' understanding of the issue and its performance standards. In addition, when you ask the employee to do a self-assessment, you may find that you have assigned too many tasks within a project that cannot be completed. In this case, you can offer collaboration with other team members to set more realistic deadlines.

Another aspect of your conversation is what can lead to a delay or failure when performing a task. Explain what the consequences would be and why it is important for the employee to perform tasks according to your requirements.

Help your employee understand

You have probably already answered the four questions with "yes". What is the next step? Prepare an action plan. You need to be strategically prepared to explain the problem, your requirements, and the consequences of your employee's failure.

These tips will help you prevent conflict between you and the employee, as well as keep a good tone during the conversation.

Be specific

In order to best illustrate the existing problem, you should indicate the specific cases in which the employee didn’t meet your expectations. Don't be too rude - give feedback on a task that isn't done on time, or say something like, "I've noticed that you haven't been responding to any of my emails in the past few weeks or you're doing it late. What is the reason for this and is there any problem that I have not been informed about?”.

You need to understand that feedback is essential for a good Employee-Boss relationship, and that way you will be able to pinpoint all the misunderstandings between you.

Talk about your employee's goals

When you make a comparison between your employee's mediocre performance and their professional goals, you will help them understand the level of performance you expect and the consequences of performing badly.

We will give you the following example - your employee wants to move to a managerial position - to coordinate teams, prepare projects with them and keep in close contact with clients. You will have to explain to the employee in question that this could not be achieved if he can’t carry out his current tasks as expected. To rise in the company, this employee will have to put in a lot of effort and prove to you that they deserve a higher position.

Always be objective

In the above situations, it’d be natural for every employee to want to defend themselves. That is why you are required to be objective. You can achieve this in three ways:

Talk about the specific work that needs to be done, not about the employee as a person

  • Justify yourself with facts, not assumptions

• Show a performance analysis of this employee’s work prepared in advance

All this will take additional preparations, but will be effective in dealing with the problem and presenting the facts why this employee does not meet your requirements.

Make an action plan and follow it through

Here comes the hard part - drawing up a plan. With its help, the employee will be able to improve their work and gradually grow in your eyes. The key is to work together or assign it to another colleague to monitor progress and report back to you. Make sure your employee knows exactly what they need to do to meet your requirements and handle the work assigned to them. With the help of this action plan you will facilitate both the work of the employee and your own.



Respect is at the heart of all working relationships, especially those of employee and employer. It is normal for you and your team to have issues and disagreements, but from the very beginning you need to make it clear what your requirements are and see if they are met.

In case the tips we have listed do not help, you may want to consider replacing this employee with a new one that better fits your expectations. At Jobbri you will discover new talent with the help of our distinctive features that will make the search even more advanced. Upload your ad here and start your search now!