What Are The Most Common Causes of Employee Poor Performance?

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There are two main causes of performance problems. The first has to do with employee characteristics. Employee performance is based on the following: employee skill levels, motivation, ability, training, and other factors that "belong" at least in part, to the employee.

The second type of cause has to do with the system in which work is done. In this category are included: managerial behavior, allocation of resources, the effects of colleague behavior, and a wide range of variables that are, by and large, beyond the control of the individual employee.

when trying to identify the cuases of poor employee performance it's absolutely critical that both kinds of causes be examined. Even something like "poor employee motivation", something that would appear on the surface to be related to employee characteristics, is heavily influenced by the work environment. A work environment can be frustrating or demoralizing, so apparent poor employee motivation can itself be caused by a poor working environment.


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Bacal & Associates was founded in 1992 by consultant and book author, Robert Bacal. Robert's books on performance management and reviews have been published by McGraw-Hill. He is available for consultation, training and keynote speaking on performance and management at work.


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We Believe

  • Performance management and appraisal MUST be a partnership between manager and employee where BOTH benefit.
  • Performance management can be the lever for improved employee engagement.
  • The review process is the LEAST important part of performance management
  • If managers aren't managing employee performance, why are they there?

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  • 722 St. Isidore Rd.
  • Casselman
  • Ontario
  • Canada, K0A 1M0