There can be many reasons for mediocre performance in the workplace.Some unfortunately is due to a lack of desire to perform at a top level, butmore often there can be other obstacles or challenges preventing anemployee from performing successfully. The cost of a disengaged, poorlyperforming employee varies based on the role and on the organizationitself, but poor performance costs US companies as much as $450–$550billion annually. Before your organization can address poor performance,it’s necessary to explore the possibility that one of these three challenges isimpacting an individual’s performance. Moreover, if one or more of thesechallenges in an issue in your workplace, chances are good that manyother employees are also affected.

Gap in Skills or Knowledge

It is not realistic and is in many cases impossible to expect employees toperform well if they lack the training or knowledge to do so. According toForbes, the biggest contributing factor to poor performance is inadequatetraining. When faced with tasks and responsibilities for which they have notbeen appropriately trained, workers are much more likely to make mistakesand as work volume and pressure increase, those mistakes can multiplyand become very costly to the organization. Mistakes due to insufficienttraining also have a negative effect on employee morale. Frustrationmounts and employees can become resentful if they feel they are not beingadequately supported by the organization. This leads to furtherdisengagement and may cause an employee to hide or cover-up mistakes,issues which can become very costly to the bottom line.To support employees properly and avoid the negative impact of workerswho lack the skills or knowledge to perform, it’s essential to have a trainingstrategy for all employees. A solid training strategy should exist for newhires and for employees at all level. Particular focus on training shouldapply as employees transition to new roles and responsibilities. A 2018Workplace Distraction Report stated that 70% of employees believe thattraining would help improve their engagement and performance. Ensuringemployees are well trained will not only improve performance andprofitability in the short term, it will also have long-term benefits through the retention and development of top performers.

Workplace Environment Issues

Company culture can have a huge impact on employee performance. Theemployee experience is heavily impacted by environmental factors such asincompetent management, absence of employee appreciation, and lack ofinvestment in the resources necessary for employees to achieve top performance. Nearly 50% of employees report feeling unappreciated atwork. Feeling appreciated could be the result of poor management. A DaleCarnegie study found that 80% of those dissatisfied with their managerswere likely to be disengaged from the employer as a whole. Managersneed need to not only ensure that employees feel respected in theworkplace, they also must convey to employees the value of theircontribution to the organization.Managers should make an effort to be approachable and it is ultimately themanager who should be aware of needed tools and resources. Goodmanagers will advocate for their employees in this area to the extentpossible within the limitations of their budget, etc.

Problems with Employee Motivation

Actively disengaged employees are those who really don’t care about theircontributions or the value of their role, and worse, they often can declaretheir attitudes quite publicly. These individuals are sometimes referred to ason-board or internal terrorists who broadcast their disregard for their joband the organization as a whole, going on to undermine the productivity oftheir co-workers. Gallup estimates that a little over 17% of the workforce isactively disengaged. That 17% will distract more productive workers withtheir negativity. This extreme lack of engagement also has a detrimentaleffect on colleagues whose ability to execute their own responsibilitieseffectively may be dependent on the work product of the highlydisengaged.Handling actively disengaged workers requires strong performancemanagement. These individuals need to be held accountable throughprogressive discipline for not meeting expectations and for the behaviorsthat are negatively impacting the workplace as a whole. This performanceplan must be driven either to a successful conclusion measured by aturn-around in both productivity and attitude, or to a point where theemployment relationship can be terminated. Active performancemanagement is the only effective approach to eliminating the negativeimpact of a toxic and unproductive employee.

Performance Management is Vital to Workforce Productivity

Poor performance and the detrimental impact to productivity is amanageable and preventable workplace challenge. By understanding thecauses, leadership can be proactive in ensuring employees are properlytrained and equipped to perform and are working in an environmentconducive to high productivity. Asure Software’s Talent Managementsolutions help managers create a positive and productive workplaceculture.

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