5 Reasons Your Employee’s Performance Isn’t ImprovingFebruary 29, 2016
In Management & Organizational Performance
During year-end performance reviews, you met with an employee who was having trouble with specific aspects of their work. Time has gone by, and you’ve noticed that nothing has changed despite your good advice. You’re wondering how you can help them improve their performance. Here are 5 common reasons an employee might continue to underperform.
1. THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND (OR AGREE WITH) WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THEM
Don’t assume that everything has been understood after a single discussion. Make sure your expectations are crystal clear. Come to a shared understanding of the facts, and check with your employee to ensure you have a complete picture of the situation. This will help you be fair to the employee and avoid misunderstandings.
Go over what is expected of the employee once again using the SMART approach, and give them a written copy for future reference.
2. YOU HAVEN’T PINPOINTED THE REASON FOR THEIR LACK OF MOTIVATION
How well do you know the professional and personal motivations of the person you are trying to help? This is where it’s important to establish a relationship of trust and to talk openly, listening carefully to the answers to the following questions:
- What drives them?
- Are they dealing with any personal issues or new professional challenges?
- Are they scared of something they’re afraid to mention? Often fear is the cause behind performance problems.
- Are they dissatisfied with their work?
3. THEY HAVEN’T FOUND A SOLUTION TO THEIR PROBLEM
Does the solution you proposed work for them? Maybe your employee could use a helping hand to find their own solution. Focus on their strengths and ask them, “What would help you improve, given that you excel in such and such an area?” Leave a day or two for reflection if necessary. Make a point of responding to all suggestions, unless of course your solution is set in stone, in which case it is better to be clear about this to avoid disappointment.
4. THERE’S NO ACTION PLAN
If performance problems continue after an initial performance review, it may be because the steps to be taken have not been clearly identified. Your employee may benefit from different resources depending on the situation. Would your employee be helped by guidance from colleagues, access to a specific work tool, or training? Or do they need to commit to taking concrete steps for their personal well-being? Everything should be set down in a written action plan.
5. THEY’RE NOT GETTING THE SUPPORT THEY NEED
Even the best plan of action will only be effective if an employee receives adequate support, starting with regular monitoring by their manager. To this end, real-time feedback can make all the difference. Your support of their progress can have a positive effect on their self-esteem and, by extension, their performance.