Mentoring for a Bad Performance Review: How to Help Your Employees Improve

When an employee produces subpar work, it can be tough to know how to approach the situation. Do you give them a stern talking-to? Do you try to work with them to improve their performance?

The latter approach is usually the best solution. After all, chances are good that the employee is already aware of their deficiencies. And unless the situation is severe, a confrontational approach is likely to do more harm than good.

Instead, try mentoring your employees to help them improve their performance. This doesn't mean coddling them or making excuses for their mistakes. But it does mean taking a collaborative approach and working with them to find solutions.

Here are a few tips for how to mentor your employees for a better performance review:

1. Be Clear About Your Expectations

When an employee is underperforming, it's important to be clear about what you expect from them. This way, there's no confusion about what needs to be done to improve their performance.Sit down with the employee and go over your expectations for their work. Be specific about what you're looking for, and provide concrete examples.

2. Help Them Set Goals

Once you've outlined your expectations, help the employee set goals for themselves. These should be specific, measurable, and achievable. They should also be realistic, given the employee's current skills and abilities.Work with the employee to develop a plan for how they can meet their goals. This might involve additional training, practice, or mentorship.

3. Provide Feedback

Throughout the process, it's important to provide feedback to the employee. This will help them understand what they're doing well and what needs improvement.Be sure to give both positive and constructive feedback. Use specific examples to illustrate your points. And avoid making any assumptions about the employee's understanding of their performance.

4. Offer Resources

If the employee is struggling to meet their goals, offer them resources to help them improve. This might include books, articles, websites, or even other people you know who can offer advice.The goal is to help the employee find the information and support they need to improve their performance.

5. Give Them Time

Finally, it's important to give the employee time to make the improvements you've discussed. This doesn't mean you should tolerate subpar work indefinitely. But it does mean giving the employee a reasonable amount of time to make progress.If the employee isn't making the progress you'd like to see, sit down and revisit your expectations and goals. See if there's anything you can do to help them make more progress.


We all want our employees to be happy and healthy, but sometimes bad performance can be a symptom of something deeper. If you think your employee's bad performance might be due to personal issues, it's important to have a conversation to see if they need help.

Mentoring for a Bad Performance Review can help you have that conversation in a way that's supportive and helpful, rather than confrontational. It can also help you identify strategies to improve your employee's performance.

Mentoring for a Bad Performance Review is a program offered by the American Association of Mental Health Counselors that trains managers to have supportive conversations with employees about performance. The program includes an online course and a two-day training.

The program is designed to help managers:

- Understand how personal issues can impact job performance

- Learn how to have supportive conversations about performance

- Identify strategies to improve performance

The benefits of mentoring for both the employee and the employer

Mentoring programs can offer a number of benefits for both the employee and the employer. For the employee, mentoring can provide an opportunity to develop new skills, gain invaluable experience, and build important relationships. For the employer, mentoring can help to improve retention rates, foster a culture of development, and create a pipeline of future leaders.

Benefits for the employee:

1. Develop new skills:

One of the most important benefits of mentoring is that it provides an opportunity for the mentee to develop new skills. Through the mentoring relationship, the mentee can learn from the mentor’s experiences and expertise.

2. Gain invaluable experience:

Another benefit of mentoring is that it can provide the mentee with invaluable experience. By observing and working with the mentor, the mentee can learn about the inner workings of the organization and gain insight into the industry.

3. Build important relationships:

In addition to developing new skills and gaining experience, mentoring can also help the mentee build important relationships. The mentor–mentee relationship can provide the mentee with access to the mentor’s network of contacts, which can be invaluable in advancing their career.

Benefits for the employer:

1. Improve retention rates:

One of the benefits of mentoring for the employer is that it can improve retention rates. Employees who feel that they are able to develop and grow within the organization are more likely to stay with the company.

2. Foster a culture of development:

Mentoring can also help to foster a culture of development within the organization. By investing in the development of its employees, the organization can create a positive and motivating work environment.

3. Create a pipeline of future leaders:

Finally, mentoring can help to create a pipeline of future leaders. By nurturing the talent of its employees, the organization can develop a pool of potential leaders who can take on increasingly responsible positions in the future.


Mentoring your employees for a better performance review is a great way to help them improve their work. By being clear about your expectations, setting goals, and providing feedback, you can help your employees make the changes you need to see.

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Peer Pioneers

Peer Pioneers

Mentoring Action Plan - Strategic Human Resource Management