Employee Performance Gaps: Overcoming the Obstacles

employee performanceIn the first two blogs in this short series on how to close an ‘employee performance gap’ I’ve looked at how to improve employee performance when that improvement is within the control of the employee (including when training can close the gap). I’ve also taken a look at what happens when (and if?) a lack of time is causing a performance gap.

But what if the reason there is a gap between what you want from your employee and what you are getting from your employee is beyond their control? What if there are obstacles they cannot overcome without your help?

Here are some of the reasons an employee cannot close the performance gap – no matter how hard they try

Employee Performance Gap #1: Lack of Resources

Does your employee have all the resources they need in order to perform to the standards you have agreed with them? Do they have access to the systems they need (maybe you’ve had some IT problems that have prevented them from performing effectively)? In short, are you sure your employee has got the ‘equipment’ they need in order to perform effectively?

Employee Performance Gap #2: Conflicting Priorities

Have priorities changed since you and your employee agreed their performance objectives or standards?  What we want from our employees can change on a regular basis. These changes come about when:

• the needs of the business change,
• the customer requirements change or
• the way we do business changes

What we sometime forget is to take time to help our employees reprioritise their work (and sometimes to stop working altogether on an objective we previously agreed). If your employee isn’t performing to the standards you require – if there’s an employee performance gap – it may be well worth checking that they aren’t struggling with conflicting priorities

Employee Performance Gap #3: Lack of Authority

‘Authority’ defines exactly what our employee can do, and decide, without consultation. Employee performance gaps can arise when our employees do not have the full authority they need in order to meet their performance objectives or standards. What’s more, our employees feel hamstrung and held back when they constantly have to say things like ‘I think we can go ahead with this but I am going to have to ask first’. This happens when authority hasn’t been fully established when we agree the performance objectives or standards

So, if you have an employee performance gap a question to ask is ‘does this employee have the authority they need in order to perform effectively?’

If they don’t then (of course) you need to either a) give them the authority they need or b) change the performance objectives or standards

Employee Performance Gaps Summary

There are any number of reasons why our employees underperform – why there is an employee performance gap. These may be; lack of skills, lack of confidence, lack of motivation, lack of time and so on.  Only when we have open and honest conversations with our employees about the need to improve their performance can we begin to really understand why the gap has arisen and how we can help our employees close that gap.

management trainingJoan Henshaw is the author of the ’10 Minute Management’ series of books and videos. Read about these practical, step-by-step books HERE and videos HERE

One Response to Employee Performance Gaps: Overcoming the Obstacles

  1. Shima Rahman says:

    Hi Joan, first of all, good job on a great article !

    I am writing for your permission to add this article in our monthly e-Mag named Guild of HR e-Mag.

    Kindly drop me an email if you’re keen for us to take this forward 😀

    Thanks and Have a great week !

    Regards,
    Shima Rahman (shima.rahman@hr-republic.org)
    HR Republic
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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