Why Performance Falls Short: Explore These Reasons

Poor job performance can have many different causes. When a member of your workforce isn’t meeting your organization’s needs, examine these factors before taking action.

  • Job role. Does the employee really understand his or her job—and your expectations? Go back to square one and clarify what your employee is supposed to do, and why.
  • Communication. You may think you’ve discussed the worker’s performance, but have you made your point clearly? Without getting angry, point out where the employee is falling short so he or she is aware of the need for improvement.
  • Motivation. Does the employee really want to do what the job requires? Often workers and job candidates agree to do whatever you ask at first, only to realize they really don’t have the drive to do what’s necessary to succeed. You may need to gently probe the employee’s motivation in order to help him or her recognize the truth.
  • Skills. Naturally, the most enthusiastic worker won’t have much success if he or she doesn’t have the ability or training necessary to do the job. The gap may not be obvious—a degree earned 20 years ago may not reflect the skills needed in today’s workplace. Make sure you and your workforce stay up to date on training needs and skill sets. And remember to provide support for your people to get the training they need.
  • Personal style. This may be harder to target than other problem areas, but it’s just as important. Does the employee fit in with the people he or she needs to work with—co-workers and customers alike? Do certain aspects of the job come more naturally than others? An outgoing personality will probably be more successful in an aggressive sales job than a shy person, no matter how much training and motivation the person has. You both need to be honest about your attitudes and personality issues to succeed.
  • Your relationship. Can you talk frankly and openly with each other? You don’t have to become best friends, but you do need to be able to communicate and understand each other’s point of view.

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