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If you’ve seen it, you’ll know that this week’s stint in the boardroom focused mainly on the candidates that weren’t performing to Lord Sugar’s high standards. It happens every series, but this time it seems more rife than ever – candidates just not wanting to take responsibility for a task, or be project managers.

Whilst they are the positions that lead to a guaranteed spotlight following the task, they can also be great ways to show that you really are trying to perform on the task at hand – emphasis on can there, we’ve all seen those candidates that let everyone else do the work and then take the credit.

In real business though, how do you handle those employees that aren’t performing to your standards? They may not be particularly high standards, and they are consistently late or rude, or it may be that they haven’t picked up on the training you have given them – either way, there is a recommended way in which to handle it. Let’s see how Lord Sugar stacks up…

Give Them A Heads Up About Their Poor Performance

First things first, let your employee know that you aren’t happy with their performance. Fair play to Lord Sugar he has given many of the candidates ample chance to prove themselves over the course of the series so far. Namely James, and now Mark and Lauren, all of whom have been told many times how they have to ‘shape up’ – although perhaps not in the most constructive way.

It’s important to be specific about how they aren’t performing, and where they should improve. Not just say “I haven’t seen or heard anything from you”, despite the fact that they may have performed consistently as a sub-team leader or sold well (can you tell I think Mark is the only solid candidate so far?). Don’t just rant and make them feel terrible about themselves.

Let Them Get A Word In

“I’ve heard enough from you”. Really, Lord Sugar? That’s not the best way to manage your candidates’ poor performance.

Whether it is a work or behavioural issue, make sure you try to understand why they may be performing poorly before you fly off the handle. And be sure that they can express to you what is expected of them from now on – otherwise how do you know what you’ve said has sunk in?

This is when you should agree what the next steps will be, and you’ll need their input on this, as it could be they think your expectations are unreasonable for a perfectly sensible reason.

Monitoring Changed Performance

This is where Nick and Karen get their pads out and put on their best disapproving pout – or not as the case may be. It is essential to track performance accurately to ensure you understand how your employee is reacting to your previous discussions. Obviously, Lord Sugar’s aides do this very well despite the play acting for the camera, but could you say the same about your business?

What To Do Next…

Depending on what it is they are performing poorly at, you may need to instigate a disciplinary or capability procedure – which is a whole other level of HR that we have covered in brief in previous blogs.

If you want the full story of how to handle these procedures – then why not sign up for a Free Trial of our HR software and support service to see how it can help you?

In the meantime, here’s hoping next week some of those ‘poor performers’ are given a real chance to prove their worth, to really separate the good from the bad candidates.