Employee non-performance is one of the most common topics of discussion in my coaching sessions with business owners and managers. Frustrations run high because the leaders assume employees “should know” what a good job looks like.  However, upon further questioning, many times the solution lies in the leadership abilities of the owner or manager. Without realizing it or being intentional about it, the leader may be contributing to his/her employees’ lack of performance.

Below are five reasons why employees do not perform well, along with corresponding suggestions for improvement:

REASON: Don’t know why or what

SOLUTION:  Clarify or set goals and define standards and expectations. Paint a vivid picture of what a good job looks like. Create written roles and responsibilities, employee handbooks, company policies and procedures, etc. Let your team members know the “why” of what you ask them to do so they have the big picture and fully understand the importance of their role on the team.

REASON: Don’t know how

SOLUTION: This is about training. Have you done a proper and thorough job of training your employees so they have the knowledge, skills and abilities to satisfactorily perform? Do they have the correct tools, resources and support?

REASON:  Don’t know WIIFM (What’s IIFor Me)

SOLUTION:  This one deals with motivation. People are motivated by what is  important to them. The more you understand and know your employees, the more you can provide a motivational environment where they will want to perform well because they benefit in some way from doing so. An example would be to give new projects and tasks to someone who likes to stay challenged. As long as you keep this individual growing and stretching, he will be happy and productive. If he becomes bored, he will become unproductive and possibly troublesome or  may even leave.

REASON:  Not capable

SOLUTION:  This is the proverbial Square-Peg-In-A-Round-Hole Syndrome. Better hiring practices need to be developed to ensure a good fit between the employee and the knowledge, skills, abilities, competencies, and characteristics required for the position.

REASON:  Not willing

SOLUTION:  When a small business transitions from a “Mom & Pop” organization to a more professional approach to leadership and management, employee accountability becomes part of the company culture. Many times longtime employees will resist this accountability and think that it doesn’t apply to them. After all, “they’re just like family” so the new rules of conduct are for everyone else except them.

Unfortunately, if these employees are not able to make the transition with you, they will either quit or have to be asked to leave. Otherwise, they will be disruptive to any organization change effort. This is especially tough for my clients of family owned and operated businesses where that team member may be a son, daughter, brother, sister, or other relative. This person will not make a positive contribution to the success of the organization. For the sake of the family relationship, as well as, to be fair to the other team members, it’s best to part ways in the business relationship.

Contact me for a complimentary copy of an “Employee Problem Analysis Worksheet”. This tool is designed to help you identify the reason(s) behind any team member’s non-performance that you’re experiencing and offers concrete suggestions to coach for improvement.