4 Steps To Retraining An Employee

As managers, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves pondering what to do about an employee whose productivity or morale has noticeably declined. On the one hand, we could let them go. That’s rarely the ideal solution, however, because it will cost time, money, and resources to recruit, interview, and train their replacement. Whenever possible, we should determine what can be done to retrain or motivate them.

Here are the four steps for effectively retraining an employee whose performance has declined:

  • Document their performance. The first step is to figure out the areas where they are failing. There may be shortcomings you’ve noticed, but before you engage in conversation, get the opinions of their closest colleagues and their manager (if that’s not you).
  • Be honest. If an employee is on the brink of being fired as a result of their declining work performance, they need to should be told so. This is never an easy conversation to have, but it is the best thing you can do for them. Tell them you don’t want to let them go, and they are a valued employee, but at the end of the day, they will determine whether they remain as a team member. You can be both firm and compassionate here.
  • Reiterate expectations. When addressing an employee’s lagging performance, it’s essential to communicate clearly and fully the expectations of their role. When you have this discussion, be sure to clearly define –as accurately as possible – how success in their position looks.
  • Build a plan for improvement. Once you have honestly communicated with them about their shortcomings and restated the expectations for the success of their role, it will be time to build a plan for improvement. As their manager, it will be necessary for you to tell them what they’ll need to do to avoid termination. Then, they will have to give you the specific steps they will take – according to a timeline, if necessary – to demonstrate they are making forward progress.


At Transcend Solutions, we’re incorporating recruitment methods and practices for our clients to ensure they’re able to find the best possible candidate for the job. To learn more, contact us here.

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