“Did I hire a person different from the one I interviewed six months ago?” Sound familiar? Probably.
Many organizations hire ostensibly qualified and capable employees, only to late discover they made a bad hire. At any given moment, there are hordes of employees busy “working” but not exactly doing the work their managers expect them to do or, worse yet, doing their work in ways that hurt morale, productivity, and the bottom line. It’s very frustrating when you are managing employees who don’t perform up to your expectations.
There are diverse reasons employees might not measure up, but each one requires a different approach – and it’s you to you as the manager to learn the difference.
- They are not fit for the task
The Problem: Unfortunately, many companies see employees who are technically proficient and assume they’d make ideal managers for their departments. The truth is, technical expertise and supervisory skills are entirely different, resulting in many employees finding themselves feeling overwhelmed by their new roles.
The solution: In this case, a new job placement is best. If you can find a way to put these employees in a senior technical assignment rather than a managerial role, they’d be happier and function at a much higher level.
- The can’t
The problem: If you expect people to do something they can’t do, don’t be surprised when they fail. For example, if the receptionist is supposed to greet guests, answer the phone, order office supplies, clean the kitchen, and cure infectious diseases all by himself, is there any wonder he can’t get it done?
The solution: Take a hard look at what you ask your team members to do. If some of them are not meeting your expectations, be sure that those expectations are realistic and reasonable. Truth to tell, assigning tasks to people who, for whatever reason, can’t complete them to your standard, means you’ve brought your situation upon yourself. Quit beating yourself up: change the person you task or change the tasks.
- They lack the necessary hard skills and soft skills to perform well
The problem: In today’s busy business environment, many workers find themselves in a “sink or swim” position. They have to learn on the job, leaving them to either succeed or fail on their own. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to learn on the fly, and some employees that’d be great under other circumstances will underperform due to lack of training.
The Solution: Offer additional training to those who seem to be struggling. Be sure that it’s offered in a way that doesn’t embarrass them in front of colleagues, and in an environment away from the fast pace of their daily job. They’ll likely be grateful for the chance to improve and begin to perform better quickly.
- They don’t want to
The Problem: Some people just don’t like to look on the bright side of situations in order to find a positive solution. People who are miserable can affect the whole team or department, bringing the morale of the entire office down with them.
The Solution: You can try something light-hearted, like putting them in charge of the positive quote of the day. But in the end, if you can’t change their attitude, you may need to let them go. A person like this can drive off your good employees if you don’t act quickly.
- They don’t have the proper resources required to do their job
The problem: Some companies, in an effort to save money, use old equipment or refuse to upgrade their software. Unfortunately, this can directly impact the ability of employees to do their job at a high level. It can also diminish morale, potentially leading to dissatisfied workers and bad reviews on sites like Glassdoor (which can jeopardize future recruiting efforts).
The Solution: If you have control of the company’s finances, choose to invest in the success of your staff. If you have to ask someone above you, do so – and be persistent until you succeed. If you encounter resistance, try to translate your request into metrics your higher-ups can appreciate. For example, if a new CRM means that your salespeople can cut their administrative tasks in half, that’s 50% more time they could be spending reaching out to new leads.
People don’t go to work planning to underperform. If they aren’t meeting your expectations, there’s always an underlying reason, and the five listed above represent the most common issues. As soon as you see an issue, do some sleuthing. With quick, corrective action, performance should improve quickly.