Every business is the sum total of the performance of all the people in it. Regardless of the size and nature of our business, to prosper we must achieve world-class performance, individually and collectively. We must create and effectively communicate clear expectations and standards of performance and behavior. Then, we must create a culture of commitment, urgency and accountability. Finally, we must measure performance to determine where we must improve – and who must improve.
Failure to deal with non-performance is one of the biggest challenges in many businesses today. There are several reasons for employees not performing and, surprisingly, most of those reasons are not their fault. In fact, in the majority of cases we, as bosses, have set them up to fail. We’re the ones who must improve. Sorry, but it’s true.
Check out the possible reasons for staff not performing, shown below, and think about what needs fixing in our business to improve performance.
1. There’s a lack of clarity in our business.
Staff don’t understand exactly what we want done, the standard to which we want it done, or by when we want it done.
Lack of clarity is one of the biggest causes of non-performance in most businesses, and it’s generally not the employee’s fault. As leaders, creating clarity is our job. Lack of clarity can be caused by confusion at the top, poor communication, inadequate training, conflicting instructions or shifting priorities.
Make sure everyone in the business is clear about what is expected of them and by when.
2. They lack the skills, tools, time or empowerment to do the job effectively.
As much as we’d like to blame our employees for this one, none of this is their fault. Make sure every employee has the skills, information, tools, time and empowerment to do the job they’ve been given – and to do it safely and well.
3. We lack clear processes…
…in many parts of our business, so jobs are done differently each time, with loss of efficiency and inconsistent results. We see it as non-performance and blame them.
Sorry, once again, not their fault. They’re not in charge of creating effective processes – we are. Everything that happens between intent and delivery is process. Without it, we’ll not get the consistent and efficient outcomes we’re looking for.
4. They don’t understand why their job is important.
OOPS, our fault again. According to many surveys, the number one reason that employees stop trying is they believe that they and their job don’t make a difference. Make sure every employee understands how they and their job affects customers, the team, and the bottom line. What they do is important. Reinforce that over and over.
5. A particular task doesn’t need to be done!
We just think it does. They get it – and we don’t.
This one’s a bummer. They understand the reality of the situation better than we do. They’re trying to save us time and money by not doing something that’s wasteful or unproductive and we see it as non-compliance or non-performance.
Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of the article that appears in the Spring 2022 edition of the HGO Merchandiser. Stay tuned next week for Part II.