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3 Reasons Under-Performing Employees In Your Company Are Not At Fault

In today’s economy business leaders can’t afford to accept under-performing personnel in their companies. Yet, in a recent survey 44% of them reported being unhappy with the performance results of their employees.

In order to solve a problem such as this, employers need to first identify the cause and then create viable options for applicable solutions. There can be many reasons why employees under-perform and some leaders may point to poor attitudes, low motivation and individuals’ inability to work with others, or accept and adapt to change.

Although those reasons may be absolutely valid on the surface, there are always underlying issues that have led to the causes identified by the business leader.

There are only two aspects to evaluate with under-performing employees. It’s either due to an individual’s:

  • ability, or
  • their attitude.

In either instance, the employee is not at fault.

There are three primary mistakes business leaders make that prevent employees from being engaged in their workplace and contributing at higher levels:

  1. The organization has not given the employee a reason to be engaged and motivated, or to contribute more than minimum effort.
  2. The organization has created an environment that is actually de-motivating and dis-engaging.
  3. The employer failed to hire the right person for the job or to ensure the person hired is working in a role that fits their talents, skills and interests.
  4.  

Business Leader Mistake #1 – Not Giving Employees a Reason to be Engaged, Motivated & Contribute

Many business leaders mistakenly believe that providing someone the privilege of a steady income and certain quality of life via a paycheck should be enough to create a motivated employee. 

Yet, studies continue to show that salary and benefits, although important for providing base levels of motivation, is not enough to generate higher levels of engagement. 

Many managers and leaders say they are frustrated with the feeling they have to continually find ways to light a fire under their people to get them to do what needs to be done. Instead they should be investing energy in connecting to their employees on a personal level to instead find ways to light a fire within them.

One extremely effective way to do this is to apply the Employee Motivation Equation.

The Employee Motivation Equation begins with creating an inspiring vision for the company that employees at all levels will be excited to contribute to. Daniel Pink, in his 2010 book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us identified “Purpose” as one of the key motivating components for a 21st Century workforce. 

Business Leader Mistake #2 – Creating a De-Motivating Environment

In any new relationship there is always a honeymoon period where all the parties involved have good feelings about the possibilities moving forward. It’s the same when a new hire joins a company.

Unfortunately, a survey of about 1.2 million employees at mostly Fortune 1000 companies in the early part of this century conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence, and revealed in 2005 that in 85% of companies, employee morale sharply declines after an employee’s first six months on the job, and continues to fade in ensuring years.

In a significant number of companies, as this Sirota research shows, something is occurring in these work environments that causes an enthusiastic and engaged employee to change their attitude.

Many factors can be attributed to this drop off, some of which include:

  • Poorly communicated job descriptions and responsibilities causing uncertain performance expectations for the individual,
  • Inequity in managers addressing inappropriate behaviors and poor performance of co-workers,
  • Managers that play favorites and communicate disrespectfully in the workplace,
  • Lack of positive feedback for contributions made

Business Leader Mistake #3 – Making a Wrong Hiring Choice

In the haste to fill positions, often those making the hiring decisions fail to invest enough time in making sure the new hire is a good fit for the position. A “good fit’ includes assessing skills, talent and job experience perspective, plus checking into the potential new hire’s personality, including beliefs, attitudes and motivations.

Additionally, sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances employees are asked to fill roles not originally intended, and for which their skills and talents are not the best fit.

In these situations, despite the employees best efforts they are unable to meet desired performance expectations, and both the employee and the employer become disenchanted with the relationship. Yet, the onus must be on the employer to get it right when inviting someone into his or her work culture.

Before proclaiming employees are unmotivated, and/or unwilling, to perform to expectations and bring positive attitudes to the work environment start evaluating these three workforce mistakes from an organizational leadership and communication perspective to see if there is room for improvement.

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