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Why good employees underperform

​Employees are any company’s greatest asset however, when they underperform, they can become the opposite. Disengaged and underperforming employees can harm the reputation of any company. Managers play an important part in making sure the company’s environment is a great place to work.

But, before they do that, managers need to know how to recognise the reasons which can make an employee perform poorly.

Some of the most common reasons include:

Employees don’t know exactly what’s expected of them. Sometimes, employees do not have a performance standard and, therefore, they do not know whether they are doing really well, well enough or if they are actually underperforming. This is usually the case when managers do not give constant feedback and when they don’t clearly explain their expectations. Too many times, managers can be quite vague and don’t say exactly what they want. Moreover, they only give feedback when an employee is not doing well. Employees should never be left in the dark until their performance drops so constant and efficient communication is key to the success of any company.

Bad relationships between a manager and an employee. This is closely related to the above paragraph. Bad relationships can be triggered by communication problems and/or some sort of change in the company, team or even in people’s personal lives. No matter what the issue is, bad communication between both parties will always do a lot of harm. That’s why it should be faced head-on as soon as possible to prevent potential damage to the company culture and work atmosphere and to avoid potential high employee turnover.

Lack of motivation. This can arise from bad communication and work relationships as well as from other reasons like limited resources, failure to recognise and reward performance, inconsistent goals or constant pressure to perform. Low performance is a consequence of not being motivated and, even though employees know what it is expected from them and can successfully deliver it, they are simply not interested in making the effort. This causes a temporary or ongoing drop in performance and other employees may feel that they must work harder to compensate for unfinished tasks.

Performance issues should be dealt with as soon as they occur by providing constructive feedback and coaching. If issues concerning underperformance are not addressed and managed quickly and appropriately they can have a negative effect on the business as a whole by having an impact on the productivity and performance of all employees and by harming both the business and the underperforming employee’s career.

How do you effectively deal with underperformance in your company?