Reducing poor performance at work

 In Performance Evaluations, Performance Management

What does it mean to be poor at work?

coursedetailsPoor performance can be attributed to the job’s tasks or responsibilities but it can also refer to the employee’s behavior in the workplace. Poor work performance refers to an employee’s performance that falls below his expectations or goals. Some performance issues can be unintentional and can easily be corrected with solid guidance. Other forms of poor performance are indicative of deeper issues like disengagement or how an employee feels about their job.

Poor Workplace Performance Overview

If an individual fails to perform as expected, it’s usually because one or more conditions are present.

  • Inadequacy of Knowledge or Awareness
    A lack of knowledge or awareness can be a barrier to good performance, especially for someone new to the job. It is essential that people are able to understand the requirements of their job and how they can do it correctly. Education can help solve this problem. This education could be for other reasons.
  • Inadequacy in Skill or Ability
    A skill is the ability to do a task or perform an action proficiently. Ability refers to the ability of an employee to perform a task. Training is often enough to overcome a lack of skill, but not an ability. A person who is not able to do the job may need to have it modified or taken on by someone else.
  • Lack of Resources
    Resources can include time, money and personnel. Although a worker may be skilled and motivated, they will not be able complete the task properly and efficiently if they do not have the right resources. The solution is to provide the resource. If it is not addressed, it can lead to frustration and loss of motivation.
  • Obstacles
    Obstacles are able to arise at any moment and can negatively impact an individual’s productivity. Technology barriers, interpersonal issues and equipment failures are all possible obstacles.
  • Personal Matters
    Individuals’ performance at work can be negatively affected by personal issues like relationship or health problems. Personal issues can have a negative impact on a person’s ability to perform at work. However, they should be considered a separate cause as the solutions for these problems will differ from those that are needed to fix a lack thereof.

5 strategies for managing poor performance at work

These five strategies will help you manage the performance of your team members to prevent it from spiraling out of control.

1. Don’t delay

We see too many managers putting off raising performance concerns with employees or giving harsh feedback. Chances for casual or incidental counselling sessions are often missed. This can lead to employees having a false impression about how well they are travelling and so feedback about poor performance is often a surprise.

2. Talk about difficult topics

It’s not easy to be the bearer for bad news. So it’s tempting just to try and soften the blow when you give feedback on employee performance. Both the employee and the organisation are doing a disservice by not being honest or open with feedback. Your employee must be honest and open about their shortcomings. They should also know what the standard is.

3. Follow-through

After having a hard conversation with your employee, you have created a plan together for how you will improve. This is where things can often go wrong if nobody takes responsibility.

4. Each step should be documented

A clear record trail should support the history of how you managed an employee’s performance. It doesn’t have to involve lengthy forms and reports. This can be accomplished by keeping detailed notes in your diary that record meetings or by confirming conversations with emails.

5. You can improve your performance

If you don’t feel confident in this area, and you have people management responsibility for your organisation, you should work on improving your performance. You can learn how to manage poor performance and have difficult conversations by taking short courses or learning workshops.

No one likes to have to manage poor performance. But with a confident approach, you can make sure the process is constructive, respectful, and hopefully successful.


Employees can be helped to improve their work performance by reducing poor work performance. This would make an employee a better worker. Learn more about our Performance Management Course by clicking the button above for more information and techniques to improve your own performance at work.


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