Workplace performance issues are one of the most time-consuming, money-draining problems that human resources departments must deal with. Performance issues slow down productivity, negatively affect morale, impact customer service standards, and take up the valuable time of HR professionals and managers. Going a step further, performance issues can eventually lead to termination and therefore be responsible for additional recruiting and hiring costs. The best way to fix performance problems is to deal with them in a timely, appropriate, and personalized way, and that begins with understanding why they’re occurring.

Nearly every ongoing performance problem is a symptom of a greater issue, and the only way to effectively solve the problem is get to the core of it and discover what’s causing it. Essentially, most performance problems can be categorized in one of several areas.

Lack of communication

One of the main causes of workplace performance issues is employees feeling confused about what their role is, who they report to, or what they should do on specific tasks or projects. This not only leads to communication problems, but it can also be a significant source of frustration if an employee doesn’t understand how or where they fit in the organization or is often asked to redo work because of miscommunication.

Knowledge gap

We can all understand why it would be incredibly frustrating to not have the technical skill, industry knowledge, or adequate experience to do our jobs. Some of these issues can be solved by providing learning and development opportunities, but it’s also critical to have the right person in the right position to avoid some of these issues.

Unreasonable expectations

If your employees are working all hours of the day and night and are still not meeting expectations, there’s a clear problem at hand. One issue may be that the manager’s expectations are truly unreasonable. Therefore, it seems that performance issues are present, but actual performance issues can arise quickly when employees get burned out and frustrated that their work is never good enough.

Conflict in the workplace

It’s just a part of life that personalities will sometimes clash, but when conflict starts to affect employees’ attitudes and happiness, performance issues will often follow. This may be from personal performance, unwillingness to collaborate with co-workers, or issues with supervisors.

Unhappy in the role

Having the right employees in the right roles is imperative to your organization’s success. When employees are dissatisfied with their role and the work they are doing, it can have an enormous impact on their performance. This is just one reason that accurate job descriptions and transparency about company culture are so important.

Personal issues

Last but certainly not least, personal issues are a major contributing factor to inadequate performance. When you aren’t focused, it affects the quality of your work. Similarly, when you are feeling down, it often affects motivation and critical thinking. Personal problems could include caring for aging parents, dealing with a breakup, issues with sick or misbehaving children, financial stresses, and so much more.

Once you understand that a performance issue is merely a symptom of a greater problem, it’s much simpler to address the issue and in many cases find a solution. While some performance issues will not be able to be resolved, the majority of them can, helping you retain more of your workforce and cutting down on costly problems.

What do you think is the most significant issue that causes performance problems in your workplace? Let us know in the comments section below.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, is an author, speaker, Human Resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR, and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience. The author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, Jessica was named by HR Examiner as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter. She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and The Huffington Post, in addition to Blogging4Jobs and Human Resources One on One. Jessica has been interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, SHRM’s HR Magazine, and on CBS. Jessica earned a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation in 2008, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Jessica currently lives near Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg and daughter, Ryleigh.

4 Comments

  • Avatar James Haun says:

    Seeing beyond the surface of a problem is the real way of dealing with it. Many managers tend to solve problems in a pragmatic way – right now, right there – without understanding their causes. Unfortunately, in this way companies have loss on performance, productivity and loss of employees.

  • Avatar Karen S. says:

    One of the main reasons of a low performance is the lack of communication and feedback. I dealt with this in my previous job and it was really frustrating. Not feeling part of the team and not knowing the tasks can make any employee less engaged and not interested in his/her performance. At that time, I was so frustrated that every time I was talking with my manager I was expecting to be fired, but in the end I was the first to give up. I quit my job because I wasn’t feeling I was doing something worth-while and I knew that I can do more than that. After I quit they told me that they were pleased with my work but it was too late.

  • Avatar Tiffany says:

    Happy employees can bring more productivity to your company. Trying to understand and solve employees’ issues means being aware of their importance. From my point of view, the main challenge is to choose the right person for the job. If the employee enjoys what he is doing, he will have a high performance. The lack of skills is a serious issue and employers should identify this gap and fill it by offering courses, trainings, consulting.

  • Avatar Michael Fisher says:

    I can’t agree with the last part – personal issues. It’s not employer’s business to solve personal issues of his employees. I know many people that had a low performance because of personal problems and I think this is not a positive aspect of their way of working. Professionals know not to mix personal issues with work! Don’t bring your personal issues to work and also don’t go home with your work issues in mind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Topics

  • Subscribe to Our Blog

  • Latest Posts

  • Stay Social