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What Are the Common Causes of Poor Job Performance?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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Poor job performance can be the result of inadequate preparation or skills, an unpleasant working environment, bad supervision, or lack of motivation. Determining the causes in a specific case can be important for addressing it. In the event termination is required, an awareness of the causes is also important, as a termination for cause must have clear justifications. Employers may also want to protect themselves from accusations of discrimination; for example, in many nations, making employment decisions on the basis of skin color is not legal.

One reason for poor job performance can be the inability to do the work. An employee may not be qualified, or could have overstated proficiencies when applying to do the job. The lack of preparation can be a particular issue in a workplace where a long-term employee is replaced. The new employee may not be able to perform the same number of tasks at the same level, because the job description and expectations are based on a skilled employee’s work over the course of years or decades.

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Another issue can be a lack of understanding about expectations, or not being able to do work because the employee does not know how. This can be the result of poor communication in training and manuals, or bad supervision. Employees who do not ask for help, or who request assistance and do not receive it, cannot access the tools they need to learn their jobs. In this case, an employee interview may reveal that an employee is able and willing to work, and just needs training.

Bad working conditions can contribute to poor job performance. Employees who feel harassed, unsafe, or bored may not want to do work and could avoid many tasks, especially if they involve contact with unpleasant coworkers. Workplaces that do not pay attention to employee morale may experience declines in productivity as employees lose interest in their work because of the conditions.

Lack of motivation can also be an issue with poor job performance. Overqualified employees may get frustrated with simple assignments, for instance, while others may not feel appreciated or could observe other employees slacking off and decide they do not need to work as hard. Employees may not feel motivated if they feel temporary, do not have a strong connection with the company, or are unclear on their goals.

Warning an employee about poor job performance in an evaluation provides an opportunity to find out more about why the employee isn’t working out. It also creates the start of a paper trail that may be legally necessary in the event of an employee termination. Supervisors and employees can set goals for improvement at such meetings to establish a method for assessing progress and create clear expectations for all parties.

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burcinc
Post 3

@ZipLine-- I don't agree with you. I think that it depends on the employee's personality. Some people feel no accomplishment regardless of positive feedback or rewards. Some people do go to work just for the money and they could care less about everything else. This happens in many organizations where there is job security.

ZipLine
Post 2

I think that all of these factors are related to one another. A poor functioning, stressful working environment and bad supervision leads to lack of motivation. This in result leads to poor employee performance.

At the end of the day though it's all about motivation. People are only motivated when they have a pleasant working environment and when they feel that they are valuable for an organization. If an employee has no idea what he's supposed to do because his supervisor doesn't communicate well, there is no way that this employee can be happy with his job. Even though money is important, most of us don't work just for money. We work to do what we enjoy and we want to feel that we are making a difference. What's the point of working hard for something if one is never going to be appreciated for it?

fBoyle
Post 1

There are many factors that can lead to poor employee performance at a workplace. I think one of the most important factors is job satisfaction.

People define job satisfaction in different ways but I think that job satisfaction occurs when an employee can fulfill his or her tasks as expected and feel achievement as a result. For some people, it's about being praised by their boss, for others, it's the paycheck at the end of the month or a reward. But it's certain that when people are satisfied and happy with their jobs, they perform better.

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