August 6, 2019


2 mistakes that results in underperforming employees

Probably you too have faced the problem when your employees don’t do what you expect them to do or they just neglect to think it over before doing anything.You delegate the tasks to them but they don’t deliver the expected results or they don’t feel the weight of doing things wrong.

You don’t understand why they don’t think over the steps of each task before they act. You don’t understand why they are not motivated when you’re paying them a more than reasonable salary.

I have bad news, it is 100% your fault. This is absolutely a management problem. There are two simple reasons of employees not delivering results or not doing work as you expect them to.

  • They do not sit in the right chair
  • They are not set in the right direction

1.They do NOT sit in the right chair

It might seem like a rookie mistake but even the experienced senior managers often make people work in the wrong position or finding the wrong person for the job. I mean you expect people to act with skills they’ve never had and never will. It’s easier not to specify the position precisely to their skills or potentials that’s why lost of managers just pick on their team members when they cannot do the required tasks.

Similar problem when you expand responsibilities of each people without checking if they are qualified for the added tasks. In these cases you will see that people are struggling in situations which seem very easy for you but since they lack the needed qualifications they just work hard without results which evidently lead to frustration.

I always see this as a sign of doing something wrong. I never blame anyone of not delivering but try to fix this management problem. For this I always use a competence matrix where I list the competences which are needed for each position.

First of all I draft up a sreadsheet where I list all the positions and the required skills connected to each position. This way not only did I set the expected compentences for each position but I gave a career goal to each colleague. This is completely transparent so if they want to improve or get promoted they know exactly which skills they need to collect.

Here is a simplified example of the sheet:

PositionGood communication skillsExcellent writing skillsCreative designing skillsGood problem solving skillsPeople management skillsApplying Cialdini principalsMarketing assistantxxContent writerxxxDesignerxxPPCxxxMarketing managerxxxx

Based on this sheet you can put the right person to the right position according to their skills. Also this sheet will help you to delegate tasks to the right person for eg. you probably won’t expect a marketing assistant to create a marketing mix since it is not in their competence.

With this the frustration is gone but it can happen that employees still won’t perform the way you’d hoped.

2. They are not set in the right direction

What does this right direction mean exactly? It means you colleague can focus on the most important tasks and work on the most efficiency level. Here’s what you need to do in order to achieve that:

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  • Define KPIs for each positionMake KPIs measurable
  • Define priorities
  • Constantly giving feedback
  • Incentive system

Define KPIs for each position

First of all define the main KPI of your company! Then you have to define at least one Key Performance Indicator for each position. This means that each person’s performance has to be measurable. For eg. in a PPC position the most important KPIs are the reach out number, budget, and conversion rate. You have to set a goal and track the progress daily. Also your employees need to know their KPI’s impact on the company’s main KPI, this way they will feel the significance of their work.

Define priorities

Once you set a goal and measure the performance you are still not done. If you don’t clarify priorities your employees will do their tasks randomly. They have to know that how much of an impact do their tasks have on their KPIs. This impact percent will define the priority of their tasks. Priorities can change occasionally for eg. based on seasonality.

So why is this whole thing important?

Because this helps your colleagues to not just execute tasks but you give them a function. They will understand why they have to do each and every task and what is the importance of that specific task in the whole organization. This way they can make independent decisions on their competence level.

Constantly giving feedback

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Repetition is key here. As a manager one of the most important tasks you have is to constantly feedback employees performance. It’s not enough to give feedback monthly quarterly or at totally random occasions you have to have a system for that. A “daily shit” meeting can be a perfect opportunity to give a daily mini evaluation because this way you can ensure that if they do things wrong it will last only for one day until you correct the mistakes. Make sure that everybody does their tasks according to priorities so they can stay focused.

Incentive system

You would think that having clear and measurable goals, tasks with priorities and the power to make decisions would be enough for an employee to work hard. Well it’s not. Why would they want to work hard? It’s not their company, they are just employees.

Lots of managers make the mistake of expecting the employees to feel just as attached to the business as an owner. The other thing is that they think rewarding with money should be enough to motivate colleagues, for eg. quarterly or yearly bonuses.

It is a scientific fact that in case of positions requiring creative work money based rewarding will destroy creativity. Of course in some cases for eg. in sales a well structured commission system is almost the only way to motivate colleagues. But in most cases what really motivates people are independence, showing and experiencing personal and professional excellence. This is the way people can identify with the mission of the company therefore they will have their own impact in accomplishing that mission.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Albert Einstein

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