As an entrepreneur, you worked night and day to get your startup off the ground. You shed blood, sweat and tears to help your business thrive, and even today, you are fully committed to doing everything in your power to see your company succeed. You are working as hard as you can — but your employees aren’t.
The success of your business directly impacts the success of your workers, so why isn’t your workforce giving their all? Here are a few reasons you might not be seeing the performance you expect from your employees:
They Are Working as Hard as They Can
Before you work yourself into a rage thinking about how your business is being taken advantage of, you might consider that your workers actually are working as hard as they can — but rather that their capacity for work is different from yours. Everyone has different abilities and different energy levels; if you don’t have any other reason to assume that your staff isn’t giving what they can to your business, you might simply appreciate the work they are putting in to build the company of your dreams.
They Are Burnt Out
Perhaps your employees used to put everything into their work, but lately their performance has dipped. You might also notice that many members of your staff look tired, speak slowly, have been using more of their sick days, have been making more mistakes in their work and have been reacting poorly to your feedback. These are all signs of burnout, which is a state of emotional exhaustion that comes about from prolonged work-related stress. You don’t want your workers to put so much into their jobs that they burn out, so if burnout is a problem at your organization, you need to rethink your company culture and devise a performance management process that keeps performance high without compromising emotional stability.
They Don’t Feel Appreciated
People want to feel that they are contributing to something greater than themselves — but they also want those around them to recognize that their contributions matter. If you aren’t in the habit of showing gratitude for your workers’ effort and accomplishments, your workers are more likely to experience higher levels of stress, which will lead to burnout and high turnover rates. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much for a worker to feel appreciated. A simple “thank you” to workers who are performing excellently goes a long way. You can also regularly distribute awards to top achievers in your company — but everyone in your business should be eligible for these awards, not just your sales team.
They Aren’t Being Challenged
You want to give your workers tasks they can handle, but it is important that these tasks are not far too easy for them to handle. A 2016 study by Udemy found that 43 percent of workers are bored by their current jobs, and boredom results in disengagement, which can negatively impact performance and lead to high turnover.
As with other potential causes of underperformance, you should talk to your workforce about how they are feeling with their current tasks. If many are looking for more challenge in their day-to-day work, you should develop systems that will help them find the right level to keep them interested and excited.
They Don’t Have the Right Skills
Sometimes, it isn’t lack of challenge but too much challenge preventing your workers from accomplishing their responsibilities. Perhaps you are asking too much from employees who aren’t skilled or experienced enough to manage certain tasks efficiently. Or, perhaps your workers inflated their abilities a bit on their resumes and have found themselves a bit in over their heads. In either case, you have a choice to make: train your staff to have the skills they need or find new staff with the right skills.
Investing in your current staff will make them incredibly loyal to you and your company, and it will allow you to hone exactly the knowledge and skill you need for your team to be incredibly competitive. Then again, training is expensive and time-consuming; if you can tempt top talent to your team, you might immediately obtain the level of performance you are looking for.
You should not feel that your employees are working against your desire to see your company succeed. You should open up conversations with your staff about their performance to learn more about what everyone can do to reach common goals.