What is Poor Work Performance?
To manage and improve employee performance, you need a clear understanding of what poor performance is. An employee displays poor work performance when their actions, output and/or behavior don’t meet their clearly defined job responsibilities or organization expectations.
How well an employee performs is based on a combination of several factors: their ability, willingness and capacity to complete their duties; management’s ability to set and communicate SMART employee goals; the company’s ability to communicate its mission, vision and values; and a company culture that fosters safety, inclusion and transparency. If any – or all – of these factors are lacking, the employee is likely to display poor work performance.
The specific behaviors that constitute “poor performance” can vary by industry and department. For example, Anthony Babbitt, change management consultant and business strategist at Babbitt Consulting, said a manufacturing company may measure performance by productivity, such as acceptable units per hour, whereas an HR department may identify poor performance by high employee turnover rates.
“In service work, performance may be as much about the quality of the work as it is about one’s ability to interact with customers,” Babbitt said. “Every company defines this differently, but it is one of the most important distinctions a company can make … since this definition typically becomes the deciding factor in whether an employee is retained or discharged.”
Key takeaway: Poor work performance is when an employee’s output or behavior doesn’t meet employer expectations, which might vary by industry, company or job role. To improve poor employee performance, have a discussion with the employee, create an employee improvement plan, and document the occurrence. Set clear expectations for employees as soon as you hire them, and frequently measure each employee’s performance against those metrics.