Nine months ago an employee, John, was hired for an entry level position. John had a boss and two other team members.
I was brought in two months ago after John's boss was let go. I've found very quickly that all three team members are very hard working. However, John is simply not intelligent enough to do the job. If I explain something to all three, the other two understand immediately while John messes up and has to have it re-explained several times.
Similarly when John has an idea or has to come up with his own approach to tackle a problem there is almost always a very obvious reason why this would not work that is immediately pointed out by me or one of John's team members.
As a result if John is left to his own devices he ends up being unproductive and requiring someone else to come in and redo everything.
Although neither of his other team members have expressed any issue with John, I can tell (despite both of them having the same or less experience) they are holding John's hand.
I have now come to the conclusion that there is no way I can trust John's work, and do not feel comfortable in giving him ownership over anything - which is a requirement for this position.
The difficult part of this is that John is very hard working. He puts in a lot of effort, loves his position, and he thinks he is doing a great job.
So now I am trying to figure out how to properly handle this. I do not want to simply fire him, or even to move right into a "you are basically going to be fired" PiP, as I think that would be very unfair to him and would severely hurt the morale of his team members.
However I cannot come up with constructive feedback for him besides that I think his intuition and judgment surrounding his day to day duties is severely lacking. If I went through a PiP I want there to be some actionable direction I can give him and right now I feel like I don't know what I could even tell him in a meeting that would be productive and not demoralizing.
So I guess my ultimate question is, how do you provide actionable feedback to someone who simply doesn't get it?