This will require an in-depth look into the probable areas where the employees might be facing difficulty with.
It is also entirely possible that the reason for a lack of good performance is simply because the employee does not want to perform well. But there are also times when there are external factors leading to poor employee performance.
1. Limited skills or knowledge
Even if an employee has a great level of motivation to get work done, he would still need to know the technicalities of his job. In the absence of skills or knowledge, chances are high that employees fail to deliver. One of the biggest contributing factors to an employee being successful at his job is adequate training and coaching from leaders. Without proper training, mistakes are bound to happen as employees would make guesswork to get things done.
Along with these errors, frustration will also slowly start to creep in, and employees might start feeling inadequate or unworthy of success. Until and unless these issues are addressed and proper training is offered on a regular basis, such employees will keep performing inadequately. This will cost the organization in terms of an unproductive workforce, eventual employee turnover and disengagement.
2. General lack of motivation
Motivation is of two kinds, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is when motivation to perform is steered by the need to earn a reward or avoid a punishment. For example, employees might be extrinsically motivated to complete a training program because there is a cash incentive for the first five who finish first. Intrinsic motivation is more complicated. It involves engaging in a behavior which is personally rewarding, where a person does a job for himself, rather than for some reward waiting for him. An example could be an employee voluntarily participating in meetings because he feels like he can contribute to it.
Both these kinds of motivation are important to understanding and thereby instilled in employees. Without any kind of motivation, an employee is actively disengaged, which manifests itself in them being unproductive, unhappy and disregard for the company as a whole. Human actions are driven by validation and recognition, fuelled by growth and constant learning opportunities. Goals need to be clearly set, guidance and growth need to be a constant pursuit not just for employees, but for leaders as well. Robust communication, along with rewarding and recognizing employee actions in the right way is key.
3. Personal issues
What most organizations fail to consider is that employees also have personal lives. And personal lives can get messed up or complicated because of so many reasons. Though it is advised not to mix personal with the professional aspects of life, sometimes the line might be a blur depending upon the complexity of the issue. It is very common to see people fail to perform well at work when they are going through the personal crisis in their lives.
Managers need to witness changes in such behavior and be empathetic to their subordinates. If they see there is a general sense of alienation that might have crept up in some employee, who has otherwise been displaying appositive personality, it could be a red flag. Once again, communication is key here. If that employee is an asset to the organization, counseling should be provided and everything should be done to make him or she feel better. Being empathetic and allowing the employee to express what is wrong will also help foster a sense of genuine care.
4. A non-conducive work environment
As companies scale up, the environment in the workplace also changes. If the environment is too negative or filled with gossip and politics, it might lead to a reduction in productivity. Or if the workplace is devoid of appreciation, recognition or fails to make employees feel worthwhile or belonged, it is a big problem. For example, if an employee has been giving his best for months, and has not been appreciated even once, his interest levels are going to plummet eventually, giving him a bad sense of experience.
Similarly, if an employee is skilled enough but isn’t offered the tools or resources she requires to do her job, the result is going to be a poor product. Similarly, having a manager who fails to be a good leader or treat his peers with respect and dignity is going to shoo the best people away. Employees will work hard only when they feel like they matter.
These factors need to be identified and rectified. Are employees happy? Are they growing? Are they getting the training they need? Are employees getting appreciated for their efforts? Are the managers competent enough to lead teams? Management and leadership need to ask these difficult questions to themselves and their employees to get to the root of unproductivity.