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Reasons skilled employees aren't reaching their potential

Employees not reaching potential

When interviewing for potential employees, managers should predict how the interview candidate will perform once in the job and not base main judgments on the candidates skill set.

This is because it doesn’t matter how skilled the candidate may be, there is no guarantee their skills will translate into a top work performance.

Once in the workplace, managers tend to focus on an employees potential (aka judgment of skill set) instead of what the employee is actually capable of. This results in the managers original perception of the candidates (now employee!) skills failing to meet the managers expectations. #notgood

Also, keep in mind that the positive traits you see in a candidates interview (best behaviour) will probably differ a little once they're in the role (normal behaviour).

Astonishingly, many employees settle in and stop trying their best after six months in their role. This time frame is known as the "honeymoon period".

If an employee is underperforming at work chances are they probably think they’re excelling in their role and might need more guidance and a reality check.

Top performers will be harder on themselves and criticise their own performance - hence they continually try to improve, and work hard well after the honeymoon period has passed.

Here are four common reasons for underperforming employees and how you can address them.

1. Poor Job Fit

Is the employee the right personality for your workplace? It is proven that some people will do better in particular jobs, cultures, and contexts compared to others. Organisational psychologists call this ‘person-job-fit.’ It is found by comparing a person’s attitudes, beliefs, abilities and temperaments, against the characteristics of the job, role, and organisation.

Make sure, as the manager, you fully understand the role you're hiring for and your company's culture. That way you have the best chance of correctly evaluating the candidates likeliness of succeeding at the role, fitting in to your team and quickly understanding (and adjusting) to the new role.

If you are applying for jobs and want to avoid this, do your homework on the job before you apply to ensure there aren’t any surprises once in the role.

2. Disengagement

If you have a poor fit employee, a common reaction can be disengagement. Another common reason for disengagement can be due to leadership style, or lack of leadership in general. Managers should be providing quality direction or it can otherwise result in star employees underperforming, and even quitting.

The solution to disengagement is not a simple one. A manager can’t instantly turn on quality leadership, nor be instantly replaced with a quality leader. However, leadership can quickly improve by managers actively mentoring employees and providing constructive feedback on how the job needs to be done. This will encourage better employee performance and inspire them to jump out of bed each morning.

3. Personal Circumstances

This reason is so obvious however sometimes managers forget that their employees have personal and private lives. Personal setbacks can interfere with the employees performance at work, no matter how talented and motivated they are. This is where work/life balance comes into play.

To be a good manager you need to support your employees and try to understand their circumstances. Try to help them deal with their personal issues, which in turn will encourage your employees to perform well at work.

Overall, keep an eye on your employees, and if any are underperforming, try to decipher if any of these reasons are the cause of it. Then work with them to improve performance and you should well and truely be on your way to helping them get straight back to the top!

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