How to identify a non performers? I mean what should be the parameters to judge them at various levels and how to convert them in performers?
From India, Shirala
Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Doctor Siva Global Hr
Ram K Navaratna
Hr Consultancy
Ceo-usd Hr Solutions
Workplace Assessment And Training
Madhuri Patil
Manager -hr

Dear Colleague,

Performance Management is the key word in the Management Filed and for a long time in the Management Practice lots of trial and error going on and still there is no perfect solution to the challenges involved in this piece of subject matter.

What should be the parameters to judge performance at various levels and how to convert those identified non-performers to performers?. Many practitioners gone near to the answer but no perfection arrived yet on this beautiful question you had raised. But still some good thoughts can be applied.


Performance Parameter is the key indicator for any Business to demonstrate the health, hygiene and growth. It is purely on based on your Business drivers, business model and objective of the Organization. Some organizations keep their performance indicators as PBT- Profit Before Tax, Cost of Production ( COP), Per-ton Cost (PTC), Customer Satisfaction Index( CSI), Market Share in the segment( MSS), Growth Percentage, New Market Share in a year, New Products, Service Levels and so on which is deciding the fate of the Business to be more profitable, sustainable and to grow further. Hence the Performance Parameters of the Business is the first focus to be arrived at.

What Are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?
Key performance indicators (KPIs) refer to a set of quantifiable measurements used to gauge a company’s overall long-term performance. KPIs specifically help determine a company's strategic, financial, and operational achievements, especially compared to those of other businesses within the same sector.


It can be done through:

- Daily Work Reports
- Feedback from Supervisor or Immediate Manager
- Out put Records
- Performance Evaluation System
- Quality or Market Complaints Ratio
- Rate of rejection
- Quality Complaints received
- Rate of Failures
- Delay in meeting Project Time lines
- Loss indicators in a department
- MIS reports about Cost, Profit, Daily Costing and Profit figures
and so on.

Then these Business drivers are converted in to Performance Parameters for each Functions of the Organization - for example - Performance Parameter for Finance, Marketing, R&D, Operations, HR, Quality etc. Then these department level parameters are cascaded to simple SMART based Parameters to each of the Talents of the Function. ( SMART as we know is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely)- There are normally called as KPIs or KRAs

Once the KPI or KRA is fixed for a particular Financial Year, then through digital way the performance or contributions of each Talent is measured in a 5 Point Scale normally against Expected Vs Actual contributions and results given by each individuals who are put in to 5 buckets:

- Exceeding Expectations
- Outstanding Performance
- Meeting Expectations
- Average Performance
-Not Meeting any of Expectations ( Below Average Performer)

This is done in a very robust evaluation mechanism and once the Talents are put into these 5 buckets, now it is easy to identify last 2 Groups of Talents to focus. To give a caution, that no system of Performance Management is perfect even today in any organization and there are heart burns and debates which is endless. But as far as possible we need to ensure the process is done un-biased and in a manner with all ethical process is adopted and so on.

Now the focus is on last 2 groups who are to be put into PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PLAN( PIP). First of all we need to understand the underlying the factors which prevent them from performing. For this better to go for Assessment Development Center ( ADC) where in a multiple approach the gaps in :


are arrived and then to provide needed support to those individuals to bring the desired changes. If the challenge is in Skill level it is easy to train then by providing development insights and put then under rigorous Training after Training.

If the challenge is relating to Capability or Ability it is better to give JOB ROTATION or DEMOTE to next lower level jobs if possible as developing them will be difficult

If the Challenge is relating to ATTITUDE then it is better to give golden shake hand and close their employment contractor as In my 30 plus years I found it difficult to change the attitude of people who do intentionally non-performance and keeping them will kill the health of the organization and larger work force.

Skill based Non-Performance can be tacked by way of :

- Skill Training and Measuring improvements time bound
- Use of Technology Support to the individual to perform better
- Automation Possibility to eliminate the hard side of the jobs
- Development Programs with evaluation and feedback system
- Expertise training in Imparting specific skills that will help the individual to perform better

All these are to be done with time bound actions and if no improvement within a time frame agreed, then it is to be tacked by appropriate ways.

The system of Performance Management is inevitable as it indicates to some extent the picture about contributors and non-contributors. We need to reward the contributor and handle the non-contributors in appropriate ways and means to keep the organization grow, healthy and survive too.

This is a system that needs 100% full time focus to bring he desired results to the organization and Team of HR, Operations, Top Management has to focus in :

- Deciding and Fixing the Performance Parameters
- Establishing Systems and Process to measure the contributions of Individual Talents to Performance Parameters
- Have control over the Performance levels of Talents
- Have robust system of evaluation of Performance Parameters
- Communicate Clearly on the Expectations on Performance Parameters from each Individual
- Share the level of Performance with each Individual
- Support individuals for Skill Training
- Reward or Reprimand as the case may be appropriately
- Keep the Performance Parameters - SMART Based
- Keep the Performance Parameters very dynamic and fully aligned with Business Objectives
- Keep refining the systems and process
- Keep Performance Culture encouraged

All the best. There are many more insights available on this vast subject matter which you may explore further

From India, Chennai
This problem emphasises the need to have proper Position Descriptions and People Descriptions for each and every job in your organisation. And you use those documents to recruit people matching the stated requirements. As we see far to often here on CiteHR, there are way too many people in jobs they have no skills or ability to do - and it shows up in their poor performance. This is a major failure in the recruitment system. Fix that and you are half way there.

I would add a couple of things to our colleague Dr Siva's notes on Peformance Management. Workers need to be assessed on the the duties laid out in the Position Description in addition to the things like teamwork, and the other non-task related skills needed. And each year there needs to be a corresponding uptick in the performance of those duties. They have to demonstrate that they are making more widgets, or processing more leave applications, making more sales, etc.

Secondly, there needs to be stretch goals, you need to up the ante. This is similar to above, but also they should have goals to learn new skills, take on extra duties, start shadowing another employee to learn their job as a backup etc.

In the last job I did before I retired, I was constantly monitored for continuous improvement. I was not allowed to stand still. In addition I was expected to nominate some stretch goals to build my skills, and one of the things I did was to go outside of my division, and serve on a committee implementing a new company wide document storage IT system so we could go paperless.

But as Dr Siva has said, sometimes, it is just better to mover non-performers on. Some will never change no matter what you do. You can waste far to much time and energy on these people, and both you and the organisation as a whole suffers.

From Australia, Melbourne
Dear Ms Madhuri Patil,

The general forums like Citehr are for settling workplace queries or seeking guidance on workplace issues. The forums are not for asking a fundamental query on the discipline of study. In this forum's case, the discipline of study is "HR Management".

I appreciate the generosity shown by the previous two senior members by giving exhaustive replies. However, your query is akin to asking a farmer, how to identify a barren land, on what parameters the land is assessed, and how to convert barren land into a fertile one? If a farmer is asked these questions, what could be his reply?


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dr Sivakumar has brought exhaustively the whole topic in crisp way. However when we adopt PMS it should be monitored all the time why only at quarter or half yearly so on? Person should adopt the thinking of daily best and contribute to the maximum, while the total motivational and support environment to be on from all the concerned. Efforts to be to enjoy the job while contributing to the objectives or goals.

Very good points and discussions by all the contributors.

Ram K Navaratna

From India, Bangalore
This is nice to read views of learned members on PMS. Everything is very good and ideal condition. Actual is far different from ideal.In reality the process should start from recruitment . There are hardly few organization where the recruiters are spending systematic value added time to select the right candidate as close as possible as per job description. Therefore, in most of the organizations the problem starts from recruitment process.

From my 34 years experience since 1976 and working with 3 MNCs ( GKW, Philips & Vesuvius) and one reputed Indian organization (Voltas) and Post retirement to till date almost 12 years to run my own organization where also interacting with MNCs and Indian organization, I have never noticed any ideal PMS system is really working anywhere as mentioned by all learned members.

Many organizations have no connection of KRA & KPI setting with business goal. Instead of proper assessment at the end of year ( once in a year for majority organization) no dialogue with the employee rather monologue. It is CR (Confidential report ) decided by the superior for his subordinates. There is hardly few organizations where in continuous basis feed back to employees for performance. Moreover, there is always one instruction from HR to the other functional superiors to fit the recommendation within Bell Curve - 10% Needs improvement, 80%- successful & 10% - outstanding. Then there is unknowingly personal bias of superior for some subordinates - good or bad.

Based on appraisal score most of the organizations identify Non-performers and Performers. In some organizations employees are informed through HRMS package instead to inform the employees across the table with a congenial atmosphere. Very few superiors have time to spend one hour in a year with subordinate about the performance. Employees have feeling that as they are not good book of the superior, they are not being properly assessed.During my tenure of service I only find one boss who spent more than an hour to discuss with me in a very warmth atmosphere not only on my performance but also on my future focus areas linking to business goals

Now the question is what should be the approach. As I have already mentioned it should start from the recruitment process where the recruitment board should consist of cross functional superiors with proper job description and depending on level of recruitment, it may be 2/3 rounds and one common member should be from the concerned department to match the chemistry of the employee with the chemistry of the organization.

Next step should be proper induction (trailer made based on the level of the employee, business of the organization and future focus - varies from 1 day to 1 month). There must be one mentor for new recruits specially for management staff for a period of 1 year ( to complete one appraisal cycle ). There are cases when subordinate is better than superior and superior either becomes vindictive(majority cases) or accept the quality of the Subordinate. Mentor has a great roll to play in those cases.

If there is attitude problem and identify as a non performer - very difficult to change the employee. But with continuous mentoring, identify the key issues - it is possible to change if not 100% but at least up to successful level. In my career I have done this with two employees one direct to my department ( ex-serviceman, Security Officer) and another Accounts executive young female employee. Bust this really difficult job with patience and determination.

From my personal observations, I can say that there very few organizations are scientifically following the system, others are at the end of the year by thumb rule decides the fate of the employees.

S K Bandyopadhyay ( Howrah, WB)
CEO-USD HR Solutions
+91 98310 81531

USD HR Solutions – To Strive towards excellence with effort and integrity

From India, New Delhi

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