An incompetent worker may well take a huge amount of your time; trying to guide, correct mistakes, respond to failures or generally deal with the fallout of an inept worker can take all a manager’s energy, leaving precious little for the important things that really need to get done.
Who they are: It’s important to recognise, of course, that making a few mistakes now and again doesn’t make someone incompetent; if anything, it just makes them human. Instead an incompetent worker is someone who never seems to understand what they should be doing or how to do it. They are, quite frankly, useless to you.
Failing to deal with an employee who just isn’t up to par not only breeds resentment from other staff who usually end up covering for the incapable worker but can actually chase customers away.
What to do: Once you have hired someone, you owe it to them to give them a chance to improve. So, talk to the employee about the problem; be honest and candid, try to find out what could be causing the incompetence and state clearly the standards that you expect from the employee. If the problem is significant, there’s no getting away from the fact that you may very well have to hurt their feelings in order to have this conversation; no one likes to hear that they are not matching up. Just keep in mind that you are being cruel to be kind; you are raising the issue in order to give them the chance to improve before you have to take further disciplinary action.
That said, don’t be afraid to discipline the employee if need be. Keep a close eye on the worker, giving them a steer every now and again as needed, or ask one of your tried and trusted employees to do it for you. You never know, the co-worker may be able to get through to the employee where you failed. Some people are so in awe of the boss title that they may be intimidated by you, rather than helped.
If things don’t progress in the right direction, however, you should look at termination.