Whether you find yourself as an employer with people working under you or you are an employee working for someone else, it is important to understand the dynamics of performance problems. These problems that can come up rob people of being as efficient as they could be and the ultimate result is performance that is less than what they are capable of.
There’s no one magic fix for all employee performance problems. Every performance problem is unique to the individual and situation. However, most performance problems can be attributed to one (or more) of the following reasons:
People don’t know what they are supposed to do.
It is very common for tasks to get assigned to people and the person doesn’t have a full understanding of exactly what they are supposed to do. Instead of getting clear instructions prior, they will try to work their way through it and hopefully they will come to a better understanding along the way. Obviously, this is not the best way. If you do not understand clearly what you are supposed to be doing, it is your job to find out prior to starting.
People don’t know why they should do what they are supposed to do.
People want to know that what they are doing matters. If they don’t have a clear understanding of why they are doing what they are supposed to be doing, it is hard to be committed to its success. People want to know how this is going to fit into the big picture. People who have bought into the bigger picture will tend to perform much better than those who have not bought in. That starts with understanding what the bigger picture is.
People don’t know how to do what they are supposed to do.
Obviously, if a person is going to perform a task, they need to know how to perform that task. Without that knowledge, they can’t expect to get the results that are desired. It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure that the employee has a clear understanding of how to perform a task. It is the employee’s responsibility to find out if they don’t have a clear understanding.
People think your ideas won’t work…or that they have a better way.
Everyone has their own unique viewpoints and ways they think things should be done. In the proper setting, a diverse set of ideas can be a very good thing. Just remember, there are many different ways to get to the same result. Some ways may be more efficient, but that does not mean that there are right and wrong ways. People need to keep an open mind to different viewpoints and be more focused on the end result as opposed to how one gets there.
People think that other tasks and activities are more important.
Everyone assigns importance to all tasks that they have to perform. If a task does not fall near the top of that priority list, it is doubtful that much importance or effort will be put into that task. It is important that the employer makes sure that the employee understands the importance a certain task has. It also helps if you can put the importance of this task into the bigger picture of what you are trying to accomplish.
People think that they are performing in an acceptable manner.
Sometimes employees are performing in a manner that is not acceptable to the employer. The only problem is that the employee is not aware of it. It is important that the employer provides the employee with regular feedback on how they are performing and things they need to improve upon. This can best be done through regular employer/employee reviews. The employee may not want to hear about things they do wrong, but in the long run, they will be grateful that they are aware of them.
Non-performance is rewarding.
If an employee is in a situation where their non-performance is not pointed out or reviewed, then they really have no motivation to perform. As an employer, you must create an environment where non-performance is not only not rewarded, but called out and known that it is not acceptable.
There are no negative consequences for poor performance.
If an employee is in a situation where their non-performance is not pointed out or reviewed, and have negative consequences associated with it, then they really have no motivation to perform. As an employer, you must create an environment where non-performance is not only not rewarded, but called out and known that it is not acceptable.
People encounter obstacles they cannot control.
Invariably, life happens. Things will come along that create situations where the task gets delayed in getting done or can’t be done altogether. While planning should be done ahead of time to try to avoid these types of situations, they do come along from time to time and despite our best efforts, they can’t be avoided. Employers need to be understanding of these situations and stay focused and in control. When these things happen, a new plan needs to be developed. The employer should work with the employee to come up with the best solution. This may require allowing more time to getting the task done. It may also require assigning the task to someone else. Just remember to be open-minded and flexible.
So as we can see, there can be many reason that cause performance problems in employees. Don’t get frustrated. Sometimes employees are just lazy and obviously, if this is the case, this needs to be addressed. It might be something entirely different that you are not aware of. Take the time to talk with them on a regular basis and try to find out how things are going. An open line of communication between an employer and an employee with help eliminate a lot of performance problems and make everything run much smoother in the process.