What are the top performance issues at work? Explore how to solve the top 11 employee performance issues preventing organizational growth.
Effective performance management is an integral part of the employee lifecycle and is as crucial to organizational success as talent acquisition and retention. Performance management encompasses monitoring and evaluating employee performance, productivity and efficiency. To contribute to organizational growth one needs to constantly improve one’s performance.
In a fast growing company, time is the most valuable resource. Therefore, the need for having an effective performance management system becomes non-negotiable to measure output levels, both in terms of quantity and quality. Each employee must be able to deliver and improve efficiency to maximize the tight bandwidth.
However, there are certain performance issues that employees and employers face at work that make performance management challenging and hinder quick yet sustainable growth.
In this article, we will discuss the top 11 performance issues and obstacles to effective performance management that are common in fast growing companies and how to overcome the same.
One of the first performance issues which prevents effective performance management is a lack of clarity in what needs to be achieved. A vague vision and unclear objectives leads to situations where employees do not know what is expected of them and the leadership is unable to identify parameters to evaluate their performance. Without specific objectives, there will always be an ambiguity in what constitutes effective performance.
Start with a clear vision and strong company values. Clearly and regularly communicate them along with long term and short term objectives. It is possible for the vision to be dynamic and change from time to time. In such cases, keep the team members updated on what the organization is progressing towards. Additionally, fast growing organizations must clearly indicate the role of each employee in achieving the vision and objectives to ensure transparency across all levels. When employees know the how and what of their roles, they perform better.
The next employee performance issue that organizations come across is a lack of clarity on how the vision and objectives are to be achieved. This obstacle is especially true for fast growing organizations which lack clear processes and systems to achieve an identified goal. Often, employees have no institutional benchmark for a particular task and hence, face performance issues.
Leaders need to guide team members on how to navigate their way to the end and collectively brainstorm and ideate on the best path. While internal benchmarks might be lacking, fast growing companies can always take inspiration from external benchmarks and processes. Additionally, hypergrowth organizations can give their employees the freedom and autonomy to experiment the best way forward.
Another performance issue is a lack of alignment between employee and leadership thinking. This is again more relevant to fast growing companies, where a dynamism of vision and best practices leads to conflicting views between employees and the leadership. They may have different notions of what constitutes effective performance, and, thus, achieving the same will have different pathways and metrics for evaluation.
Involve employees across the organization in brainstorming and promote shared goal setting. Identify a middle way on what success will look like and how it can be achieved. The best way for fast growing organizations to mitigate this obstacle is by having effective OKRs which communicate the top objectives and associated key results to align expectations across.
Effective performance management and the path to dealing with performance issues requires mapping and measuring performance and productivity. However, most fast growing companies lack metrics and key performance indicators to measure the same. Often, they have an ad hoc approach and understanding of what constitutes good performance, which is neither inspirational nor uniform.
It is important to have specifically defined KPIs and metrics to measure performance effectiveness. It is important to customize the KPIs to specific roles and tasks, instead of simply implementing those that appear on the first page of Google search. Since the work culture of fast growing companies is different from others, the KPIs must be customized and adapted accordingly to suit specific business needs.
This performance issue is faced by almost all organizations as there is an overall shortage of skilled, qualified talent with the right attitude and work ethic. However, it is more apparent for hyper growth organizations which have financial constraints and limitations on how much they can spend along with a relatively lesser know brand name. Shortage of competent talent and resources leads to inefficiency in performance and other employee performance issues.
Despite financial constraints, fast growing companies can deal with shortage of talent and resources by focusing on upskilling existing employees through intensive learning and development opportunities to address organizational needs.
Furthermore, there needs to be a judicious and strategic approach to hiring and resource utilization based on top organizational priorities. It is a good idea to complement the compensation for employees with other benefits and rewards to attract the top talent as most millennials prefer autonomy, flexibility, and work culture over a fat paycheck.
Performance issues arise when employees feel their efforts are going unrecognized. Often, in the hustle of growing the businesses and 1000 other things that go on, fast growing organizations miss rewarding, acknowledging, and appreciating everything their employees do, especially when they go the extra mile. Many companies in the growth stage feel the financial limitations prevent them from rewarding exceptional performance. However, this leads to a lack of motivation, resulting in low levels of performance.
Focus on showing gratitude to employees for everything they do. Most performance issues can be solved by creating incentives for higher outcomes. Rewards don’t have to be monetarily driven and can simply be Thank You notes, public acknowledgement and appreciation, gift vouchers, an extra day off, etc. The idea is to show that their performance and efforts are being recognized.
Employee performance issues are intrinsically linked to overlooking what employees have to say. Most employees who join fast growing companies are driven by their purpose and passion and seek to make a difference. This requires organizations to hear what employees have to say, and when this does not happen, there is a performance disconnect.
Focus on gauging employee pulse and opinion by leveraging different platforms. It is important to understand what employees have to say about the culture, factors contributing to performance problems and much more. If employee performance issues are to be addressed to facilitate effective performance management, understanding their side of the story is crucial to uncover the challenges as well as potential solutions.
Unless the leadership is committed to addressing performance issues and removing the obstacles to effective performance management, it is very difficult to move the needle. Often, leaders in fast growing companies are occupied with multiple things on their plate and find themselves stretched for time. Invariably, they are unable to understand the causes of performance problems and thus, unable to manage the same.
SUPER TIP: Check out which mistakes to avoid while leading a team in an organization.
Leaders must set time aside to address employee performance issues and commit to their growth and development. They need to display their commitment by regularly communicating with team members, understanding the challenges, and identifying solutions collaboratively.
Coaching and mentoring are integral to effective performance management. Due to lack of mentoring and guidance, employees find themselves lost in the way, leading to performance problems. Leaders and managers find themselves pressed for time and are often unable to see the return on investment with respect to coaching and mentoring.
While companies in the growth stage may not have enough leaders to offer coaching and mentoring support to all their employees, leveraging external partnerships and technology to facilitate personalized 1:1 meetings can be a good option. The idea is to invest in the personal and professional development of employees to encourage and motivate them to bridge the performance gap.
Employee performance issues often stem from lack of transparent communication and a siloed approach to working. Adapting to new models of working, especially in the new normal, employees in hybrid organizations find it difficult to communicate with everyone on the team. This leads to miscommunication and prevents everyone from being on the same page. Consequently, these collaboration barriers result in declining performance.
Explore and experiment with unconventional forms of communicating with team members. Have an open door policy and share as much as possible. Promote a clear and transparent communication policy without hierarchies. Greet everyone in the team with a smile and have coffee/ virtual coffee breaks to bond beyond work. Finally, conduct icebreakers and different activities to facilitate communication and collaboration, which fall in your financial constraints, but are also effective and impactful. Using technology to keep employees engaged is often a useful and cost-effective solution.
Finally, many fast growing companies lack the patience to allow their employees to make mistakes and offer feedback to help them improve. This often results in performance issues or rapid turnover. Either way, it is an obstacle to effective performance management.
Encourage leaders to provide constructive and timely feedback to all their team members to help them learn from their mistakes. Share what team members can improve and also listen to their side of the story. Explain how small changes will not only improve their performance, but add to their professional development in the longer run.
Before we wrap up, here are a few best practices for fast growing organizations to address performance issues and facilitate effective performance management:
In addition to these best practices, it is important to collaborate with a platform that helps hyper growth companies create an empowering and high performing culture. Such a platform can help gauge employee pulse, set OKRs, measure performance regularly, facilitate manager development based on employee opinion and industry benchmarks and much more. Effective performance management by leveraging capabilities of an employee experience platform like SuperBeings can go a long way to attract the right talent, facilitate engagement and performance and reduce voluntary turnover.
8 point checklist to choose the best performance management tool
Continuous performance management
Manage your organisation's performance with the right tools, book a demo with Superbeings today!
‘Onboarding: How to get your new employees up to speed in half the time’ - George Bradt, founder and Chairman PrimeGenesis
Did you know that a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%?
However, only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job at onboarding new employees.
This clearly states that while employee onboarding has a direct impact on the bottom line, most organizations miss out on how to get it right.
Don’t let that happen to you. To onboard new employees like a pro, keep reading.
By definition, an onboarding survey is a questionnaire that is administered on new hires to gauge their initial experience and level of satisfaction, in an attempt to understand their engagement and retention potential.
As an HR, you can get multiple insights from an onboarding survey, including:
It can help you estimate how long the employees are likely to stay and how you can further optimize your onboarding process to make it more aligned with employee expectations.
An effective onboarding survey can help you reflect on your performance through the onboarding process, which directly impacts KPIs for organizational success, including:
93% of employers believe a good onboarding experience is critical in influencing a new employee’s decision whether to stay with the company. At the same time, 25% of a company’s new hires would leave within a year if the onboarding experience was poor.
20% of new hires are unlikely to recommend an employer to a friend or family member and an onboarding survey can help you identify the reasons for the same. However, new team members who were asked to provide feedback prior to their start date also had a 79% increase in willingness to refer others. Thus, illustrating how onboarding surveys and feedback can impact eNPS.
Read: How to use eNPS for better employee engagement
Employees with exceptional onboarding experiences are 2.6x more likely to be extremely satisfied with their workplace and 70% say they have ‘the best possible job’.
77% of employees who went through a formal onboarding process were able to meet their first performance goals. However, 49% of individuals who failed to reach their first performance milestone had no official onboarding instruction. An onboarding survey can help you determine the effectiveness of your onboarding process.
In addition, your new employees might also have an inclination towards providing feedback as a part of the onboarding survey, which you will lose out if you don’t conduct the same. Research shows that only 26% of new employees recall being asked for feedback on their candidate journey and the hiring process before their start date wherein 91% of new hires are willing to provide this feedback.
Now that you understand the importance of an employee onboarding survey, let’s quickly discuss how to effectively run an onboarding survey.
You must coincide your employee onboarding survey with important milestones for the new employee in the organization. Mostly, these milestones coincide with the end of the first few months. Thus, you should circulate your onboarding survey after 30, 60 and 90 days respectively, with different objectives for each. Furthermore, you can send interim surveys in case you feel the need, for instance, when the employee starts a project, or when the orientation process is over.
“Effective employee onboarding isn’t about swag, stickers, & company value pamphlets on their desk the 1st day. But, how you help them understand their goals & how co values are interwoven in operating are more important.”- Suhail Doshi, founder and chairman of Mixpanel, Inc.
Based on the milestones or cadence you have set up, it is important to identify areas you would want to cover with each milestone. For instance:
In the first 30 days, you should focus on themes like:
In 60 days, you can touch on themes like:
By the end of 90 days, focus should shift towards:
Once you have decided the themes, you can start building questions, a snapshot of which is covered in the next section or you can download the template now here. The themes can be fluid across milestones, depending on the context for your organization.
Once the milestone arrives, you should roll out the onboarding survey and drive participation. It is important to explain to your new employees why the onboarding survey is important and how they can fill it up. Give them the requisite time, deadlines and communicate what will be the next steps to encourage them to participate.
Simply rolling out the survey is not enough. You must reach out to your new employees to remind them to fill the onboarding survey as amidst numerous new things, they might lose track of it. Don’t push too hard, yet send subtle reminders to get genuine responses. For instance: employee survey tools such as SuperBeings integrate with chat tools like Slack, Teams, Gchat to send personalized nudges to fill out the survey in the flow of work at set intervals as well as allows them to participate directly without switching context.
Unlock a wide array of survey questions and employee analytics. See how SuperBeings can help
Once your onboarding survey responses are in, slice and dice them to get insights into what your employees feel and leverage the data points to further refine your onboarding process to facilitate engagement, retention and advocacy from the beginning.
Taking cue from the section above, here are 50+ onboarding survey questions that you can leverage to gauge the pulse of your new employees as they complete different milestones.
You can also download these questions as a template and use it whenever you need. Click here to download
By now, it would be very clear to you that an employee onboarding survey can help you in multiple ways to create a high performance culture. It can enable you to augment retention, engagement, satisfaction and advocacy among employees to ensure that there is minimal turnover and you are able to attract high quality talent. Ensure that you roll out an onboarding survey at 30/60/90 days frequency to check onboarding experience, knowledge transfer, manager support, role clarity, etc.
You should focus on other forms of employee feedback on culture, training and development opportunities, level of engagement, manager effectiveness, workplace collaboration, work-life balance, among others.
Finally, you should focus on leveraging technology and automation to add efficiency and effectiveness to your onboarding survey and process.
Research shows, automating onboarding tasks resulted in a 16% increase in retention rates for new hires.
Thus, consider partnering with a survey platform which enables you to:
How to use employee engagement survey comments
When it comes to performance management for employees, you would agree that feedback plays an important role. However, only offering positive feedback and appreciating the performance of your employees is not enough. You need to give them an equal amount of constructive feedback which is specific to ensure high levels of performance. If you feel that your employees may not embrace constructive feedback, think again.
Research shows that 92% of people believe that constructive feedback is effective at improving performance.
In this article we will help you understand how you can give constructive feedback and examples you can leverage.
Constructive feedback is essentially a tool that most forward looking professionals leverage to help others in their team with specific and constructive inputs on areas where one’s performance can be improved. Put simply, if you have an employee who doesn’t pay attention to detail, constructive feedback involves helping them acknowledge that this is a problem area, and more than that, enabling them with the support to overcome the same. It involves not only identifying a performance problem, but also, providing action items and ways to address the same.
Now that you have an understanding of what constructive feedback means, let’s quickly look at some of the top reasons why constructive feedback is important. Constructive feedback:
When delivering feedback, you must understand the difference between positive and constructive feedback and ensure that you use both of them where they fit the best. Here a quick distinction between positive feedback vs constructive feedback:
In a nutshell, positive feedback is a reinforcement tool, whereas constructive feedback is a mechanism to facilitate development.
With an understanding of the fundamentals of constructive feedback, let’s quickly jump to the best practices which can help you deliver constructive feedback in a nuanced and effective manner.
The first thing you need to focus on is ensuring that the timing of the constructive feedback is ideal. For instance, a busy period when the employee is putting in a lot of effort may not be ideal for giving them feedback about their performance from three months ago. At the same time, ensure that you provide constructive feedback regularly and consistently, to avoid recency or primacy bias. However, don’t offer feedback when you are angry about their performance either.
Before you get down to giving the feedback, set the tone. Share with the employee the purpose of the meeting and make them comfortable prior to sharing your reflections. It is important that you build trust so your employees can share their perspective and don’t feel intimidated by what you have to say.
Once the context and tone is set, start sharing your reflections. Your focus should be on sharing what you have observed about their performance. However, ensure that you also share how the same is likely to impact their career growth as well as organizational success. For instance, if you are providing constructive feedback about missing deadlines, you can use the impact of losing clients for the organization and a casual attitude marker for the employee.
When sharing reflections, use specific examples of when you noticed a particular behavior. For instance, in the above example, you can share instances of when the employee missed his/her deadlines. Ensure that you use examples which illustrate a pattern, rather than a one off incident, which is very uncommon. Furthermore, always use concrete examples and not interpretation of what you hear or see.
With constructive feedback, your focus should be on helping the employee improve their performance and work on their areas of development.
However, simply pointing out their weaknesses or negatives in their performance will not help. You need to also talk about some of the positive aspects of their performance and how those qualities can help them absorb and implement their constructive feedback.
Emotional intelligence is extremely important when delivering constructive feedback. You cannot be apathetic towards your employee when delivering the same. Put yourself in their shoes to choose your phrases carefully. We will share some examples in the next section. Also, use your EQ to read the situation when you are delivering the feedback. If you see that the employee is getting uncomfortable, take a pause and comfort them first. Read their gestures and body language to ensure that the employee is not feeling attacked.
Like it or not, constructive feedback involves pointing out one’s weaknesses and areas of improvement. However, you should refrain from equating the performance of the employee with his/her personality or whole self. For instance, if someone misses deadlines, encourage them to be more organized or prioritize important work, than labeling them as a procrastinator.
While you are delivering the constructive feedback, you have to make sure it is a dialogue.
The idea is to give the other person enough room to share their side of the story.
Try to understand whether or not they agree with your feedback and how they perceive the same. They may share the lack of support or resources, which have resulted in a weak performance. Be open to some reverse feedback as well. Again, your EQ must be at play here. If your employee has an outburst, or reacts negatively, you need to stay composed and calm them down.
Once you and your employee are aligned on the areas of improvement, the most important part of constructive feedback is to provide adequate solutions to address the performance challenges. Don’t give abstract or vague solutions like be punctual if the employee misses deadlines. Rather, give very specific and action oriented solutions which are directed towards a particular outcome. The idea is to collectively understand the cause of the weak area of performance and use concrete solutions to remedy the same.
Now that you have shared some potential solutions, you must revise the top action items with your employee to avoid any confusion. At the same time, you should focus on creating a time bound plan with key milestones to ensure that development is taking place. Summarize what was discussed and how you will proceed from there. Best is to set up a date to review the progress to ensure constructive feedback is paid heed to.
Read our article on Start Stop Continue Feedback to give action oriented feedback
Here are top 20 constructive feedback examples that you can use during your next conversation. To make your constructive feedback more effective, we have also illustrated examples of what you should steer away from.
I would really like to know how you have progressed on the tasks assigned to you last month. It would be ideal if you could share a progress update on what has been achieved with a small summary of challenges/ support needed at the end of every week to ensure everyone is on the same page.
You have not kept your team updated about your work, this is highly unprofessional.
I was going through the work you submitted last week and I can see you have put in a lot of effort. However, I could see that there were some small errors and inaccuracies in the report across multiple sections. I believe that if you proofread your work thoroughly before turning it in, it will reduce the number of iterations and improve your quality of work.
You seem completely distracted as you have been submitting flawed and below average work, this will not be tolerated.
I understand that you are working on multiple projects, however, you need to ensure that the most important projects are not overlooked and their timelines are not missed. Therefore, I would suggest you create a list of tasks you are working on and check with the respective reporting managers on the priority and set clear expectations to ensure that no deadlines are missed.
You have missed your deadline again, it seems like you are not serious about you work.
I see that you have been able to achieve only a part of the goals that you set out for this year. Maybe you were trying to spread yourself too thin. I would suggest you reduce the number of projects you are working on and ensure that the goals you set you are able to achieve. Furthermore, you must be vocal about the support or resources you need to achieve your goals.
Are you even serious about your work, your level of goal achievement indicates otherwise.
I see that you have been taking some time off lately, without any prior intimation. Let’s try to understand if there is a particular reason for the same. We can work on your schedule to make it more flexible.
You have been missing all meetings lately, this tardiness is not appreciated.
I see that you are excellent at execution of ideas. However, I believe that you need to focus more on coming up with solutions on your own. I would suggest participating more in the brainstorming sessions and coming up with solutions. Try to think on your own, before you reach out to others with the problem.
You lack any problem solving capabilities, and will be stuck to execution for the rest of your career.
Constructive feedback is integral to organizational success. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
50 top 360 degree feedback question examples
While performance management has been a key priority for organizations, for a long time, year end reviews were considered to be the most effective way to facilitate the same. However, recently organizations are observing a shift towards continuous performance management with an introduction of the performance management cycle. This article will focus on different aspects of the performance management cycle and how it enables unlocking the potential of high performance teams.
Before going into the diverse aspects, you should first understand what a performance management cycle essentially is. If you have an idea of what continuous performance management is, you’re already a step ahead in the understanding. Performance management cycle primarily is a way or a model in which you evaluate or focus on the performance of your employees throughout the year. The idea is to break down the different elements of employee performance into different stages and focus on them consistently. It starts with setting goals and ends with rewards for a job well done, which leads to setting of new goals and the performance management cycle resets.
While you may want to divide your performance management cycle into any number of stages, mostly there are four stages.
The first stage, at the very beginning of the performance management cycle, focuses on creating a plan for the performance ahead. The idea is to have a clear understanding on what your employee must achieve and how you will eventually review and evaluate them. During the planning stage, you and your team member, collectively should:
Thus, the planning stage of the performance management cycle sets the tone for the year ahead and ensures there is clarity at all levels.
Once the goals have been set in the planning stage, you enter the monitoring stage of the performance management cycle. This stage essentially focuses on ensuring that things are moving as planned. The idea is to ascertain that your team members are more or less on track for specific milestones outlined as a part of goal setting. Additionally, this stage will help you address any performance challenges that you may observe, sooner than later. Monitoring stage includes:
The monitoring stage essentially focuses on tracking the performance of your employees against the set goals to provide constructive feedback and help them perform better.
The third stage of the performance management cycle comes into existence towards the end. It involves reviewing the performance and providing ratings based on the established KPIs and metrics. While this is the formal review process, if you have been constantly monitoring the performance of your employees, this will essentially be a consolidation of all the reviews and feedback shared overtime. While delivering performance reviews, ensure that you:
Since you have been connecting regularly with your employees, the reviews will not come as a surprise to them, but will help you monitor the trends of their performance and guide the next stage for the employee’s professional growth.
Finally, the rewarding stage in the performance management cycle acts as a culmination to one cycle and sets stage for the commencement of the next. The objective is to take into account their performance over the performance management cycle and create a culture of rewards and recognition to celebrate and appreciate high performance. Some of the quick ways to reward your employees include, giving them:
This stage is important to make your employees feel valued and motivate them to keep the performance going. It will also push average performers to step up their efforts and enable you to create a high performance culture.
Now that you understand the various stages of a performance management cycle, let’s quickly look at why the performance management cycle is important for your organization. It will help you:
In addition to the above mentioned benefits, a performance management cycle can help you build a high performance culture in a number of ways. Some of the top aspects include:
What constitutes high performance can be abstract. For some, closing 5 deals can be high performance, for others, it might be closing 15. Planning stage in the performance management lifecycle will help your employees understand what constitutes high performance and thus, proceed towards it.
A key part of the performance management cycle is the rewards and recognition. When employees feel their performance is being valued and recognized, they tend to double up their efforts, leading to a high performance team.
Monitoring and tracking followed by 1-o-1 conversations can help you communicate with your employees regularly. Not only will you track their performance, but will also listen to their concerns or challenges and offer them feedback. Such conversations and feedback have a positive impact on performance, leading to a high performance culture.
One of the foundations of high performance is enabling your team members to undergo the right training. Performance management cycle can help you understand which training is important for your employees at which performance stage, realizing high quality results.
As a manager, there are several ways in which you can unlock the true potential of a performance management cycle. You are one of the key stakeholders who plays an important role in every stage of the cycle. Here are a few tips that can help you augment the effectiveness of the performance management cycle:
A performance management tool can significantly help you streamline your performance management cycle by offering the following benefits.
Get automated performance snapshots of your employee’s performance over the 9 box grid to track performance trends over time and provide reviews without recency bias.
Leverage guided templates with AI based suggestions for your 1:1 conversations with employees during the monitoring stage based on performance over time. Receive suggested talking points for goal-centered conversations.
Look at historic feedback to see improvement in performance and compare performance over time. You can also compare performance of peers over specific parameters.
How to create a high performance culture using OKRs
7 steps to effective performance management system