What Is Another Way to Say ”Not Meeting Expectations”?

So, you want to know the best way to let an employee know they’re not meeting expectations.

However, you’re also a little worried that you might hurt their feelings by simply saying not meeting expectations, right?

Fear not!

This article has gathered some phrases to show you how to say not meeting expectations in an email.

6 Alternative Ways to Say “Not Meeting Expectations”

Feel free to review these 6 synonyms to learn better ways to say not meeting expectations:

  • Falling short of expectations
  • Below par
  • Not living up to standards
  • Disappointing performance
  • Failing to meet the mark
  • Substandard

1. Falling Short of Expectations

When someone is not meeting expectations at work, you have to be direct and honest.

That’s where a phrase like falling short of expectations comes in.

It lets an employee know that they’re not up to par in an open way. It can also allow you to be more direct with them and indicate that they might need to change some things quickly.

After all, when someone isn’t meeting expectations, it’s hard to know the best ways to push them.

At the end of the day, if you don’t want to lose your employee, you need to openly communicate. This phrase allows you to do that in a direct and concise way.

So, you can check out this email sample to learn more about it:

Dear Joseph,

I’m afraid you’re falling short of expectations at the moment.

It’s unlike you, so I’m sure we can find a way to work through this together.

All the best,
Rosie Cheeks

2. Below Par

For something a little simpler, use below par as another way to say not meeting expectations. This is a good descriptive phrase to use in a performance review.

It’ll allow you to demonstrate to an employee that they’re not wowing you with their workload or decisions.

It might be the encouragement they need to start working a bit harder. Sometimes, tough love is the answer, after all!

Using this keeps things honest and sincere. It shows you need an employee to buck up their ideas and try slightly harder to impress you.

Also, you can review this sample email to learn more about how to use it:

Dear Jodie,

I’m afraid you’re working below par at the moment.

I don’t want to take this further, so I have compiled a list of ideas that should help you to improve.

Donny Salamander

3. Not Living Up to Standards

Next, it’s worth saying not living up to standards. This is a great way to say that someone did not meet expectations after a performance review.

It’s hard to know how to be polite when saying someone is not living up to your expectations. But being honest and direct is a good place to start.

You can include it in a letter after a performance review. It shows you’re trying to help an employee improve themselves, but you need them to work with.

Feel free to review the following letter sample to learn a bit more about it:

Dear Aimee,

I’m afraid you’re not living up to standards right now.

However, I’d like you to review some of the guidelines I’ve provided to help you improve moving forward.

Best regards,
Shane Ward

4. Disappointing Performance

It pays to be direct and honest, even if it’s not always the nicest way to go about it.

As the boss, it’s your job to keep employees in line. If expectations were not met, you need to find a reasonable way to let them know without accusing or offending them.

That’s where disappointing performance comes in. You can use it when someone has failed to meet expectations.

It suggests that you’re not happy with what they’ve done. Also, it usually comes with a solution or way to fix the problem to ensure they don’t continue on their disappointing trajectory.

So, you can review this sample email to learn a bit more about how to use it:

Dear Allison,

I’m afraid you’ve put forward a disappointing performance this quarter.

Please meet with me on Friday to talk about it, as I think I have a few ways to help.

Paul Rudd

5. Failing to Meet the Mark

Next, it’s worth saying that someone is failing to meet the mark.

This is effective because it reminds someone that they need to meet standards. Sometimes, employees get complacent and forget that they have to do things to the best of their abilities.

A simple reminder like this is direct and honest. Therefore, it’s a good one to include in a professional email that reminds an employee they need to try a little harder to impress you.

You can review the following example if you still need help understanding this one:

Dear Elliot,

You’re failing to meet the mark at the moment.

However, I still believe you have what it takes. I think we just need to discuss the standards.

Maddie Trilby

6. Substandard

Finally, you can use substandard as another word for not meeting expectations.

This word is certainly useful if you’re looking to simplify your writing. Sticking to only one word helps to keep things streamlined when letting an employee know they need to work harder.

If someone is substandard, it implies they are failing to meet the mark. If you’ve established standards with them and they’re not hitting them, it’s good to be honest with something like this.

Check out the following sample email if you still need help understanding it:

Dear Maria,

This is currently substandard work, and I need more from you.

I’ll let you know when I’m free to meet, as I think I can help you to understand what I’m looking for.

My best,
Kate Young

Examples of How to Tell an Employee They Are Not Meeting Expectations

The first thing you need to consider when telling an employee they are not meeting expectations is polite delivery.

The politer you are, the easier it will be to tell an employee they’re not meeting your standards.

We first recommend stating what you expected from them. This should make it easier for an employee to see where they went wrong and what they need to fix.

Second, you should explain the consequences. This will indicate what you want your employees to do next to try and fix the issues to ensure they don’t get punished.

This email example will help you to understand more about it:

Dear Brian,

I’m afraid you are not meeting expectations at the moment.

I told you what I was looking for during the meeting, but I’m afraid this project isn’t quite right.

However, I’m willing to sit down with you to discuss your next steps.

Joshua Brady

Also, here’s a letter sample you can send to an employee when you want to let them know you’re not happy with their performance:

Dear Suzie,

Right now, you are not meeting expectations.

I need you to redo this project with my guidelines in mind.

If you need help, please talk to me. Otherwise, I will have to reevaluate your position.

Stuart Batcheller

So, it’s okay to say not meeting expectations in a formal email or letter. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only viable option in your writing.

You can refer to our alternative phrases to learn how to tell an employee they are not meeting expectations. We’ve gathered some of the best synonyms to help you in this situation.

George O'Connor