How to Discuss Poor Performance with an Employee


Discussing a construction employee’s poor performance is essential for team safety. Subpar performance in a construction project can increase the risks of injury for your employees.

An employee’s poor performance also can increase the project costs and timeline for completion. This impacts your company’s bottom line.

As a result, you must address the employee’s poor performance before it further affects the construction project. These tips can help.

Follow these guidelines to discuss poor performance with a construction employee.

Quickly Address the Issue

Talk about the employee’s poor performance as soon as possible. Let them know their lackluster effort impacts the safety of the workers and the integrity of the structure. This can lead to rework, more time for project completion, and increased costs.

Give Examples

Provide specific examples of the employee’s poor performance. This clarifies what needs improvement.

For instance, the employee might often start working late or take longer breaks than allowed. Pointing this out is much more effective than saying the employee wastes company time.

Remain Objective

Stay neutral throughout the discussion. You want to have a two-way conversation with the employee rather than give a lecture.

Encourage the employee to respond and explain their side of things. They may be experiencing a personal issue at home, feel overworked, or be experiencing burnout.

Be Empathetic

Remain empathetic while actively listening to the employee. Work together to create a plan to move forward.

Include your expectations for performance improvement and a time frame to see these changes. Schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss the employee’s progress.

Provide Support

Let the employee know you support them in improving their performance. Share that you are having this conversation because you know they can do better.

Let the employee know you are here to help them as needed. Share that you want the best for them.

Document the Discussion

Take notes or record your discussion with the employee about their poor performance. Provide the employee with a copy so they can reflect on what was said.

Create a performance improvement plan (PIP) to share with the employee. Include details about what is expected from the employee going forward. Clarify the goals, benchmarks, proposed solutions, and resources for support.

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