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Diagnosing Performance Problems LearnBytes - Figuring Out "What's Wrong" With Your Employee And How You Can Help

If the ultimate purpose of performance management and performance appraisal is to improve performance, rather than to punish less productive employees, then we need to engage in a problem-solving process that is likely to improve performance rather than an emotional process that is likely to offend, and actually damage employee morale and productivity.

If there is a performance problem, then we need to use a problem-solving process. The most important step in the performance improvement process is to diagnose why the performance problem occurs -- the real causes underlying the problem, or the "root cause". If we don't properly identify the causes, how can we possibly figure out the solution.

Based on the best selling McGraw-Hill books by Robert Bacal, we have created a help card that maps out how to go about identifying the causes of problem performance. While the principles and techniques described fit very will into any performance management or appraisal system and can be used to address problem performance, they have another purpose -- to help any employee improve regardless of their current level. The steps are aimed at removing barriers to performance, whether an employee is below average, average, or even above average, since there is always room for improvement.

What's Included?

This 8.5 x 11 inch two sided card explains how managers can work with employees to diagnose the causes of performance problems, or, for employees who are performing well, to identify any barriers to their performance. What is unique about this is that we don't just focus on causes associated with the employee (attitude, skills, etc) but also discuss other important contributors to performance -- the system (environment) and manager. This focus on the three contributors to performance make it much more likely you can identify the real and complete causes of problem performance. Here's a summary of the sections:

  • Overview - The Point of Performance Diagnosis
  • Understanding Performance - What Causes Performance - A three pronged approach
  • Diagnosis Step-By-Step (explains the steps and cycles of diagnosing performance problems so you can do a complete diagnosis, and use that information to create an action plan to resolve the problem.
  • Hints and Tips

Learn to identify result gaps, behavior gaps, examine the environment work system, and managerial contributions to performance, and identify employee based causes of sub-optimum performance.


Managers can review these steps prior to meeting with employees to discuss performance problems, before performance appraisals, and to identify root causes so that barriers to performance can be removed, and solutions to problem performance can be generated.

Previewing and Purchasing:

Please keep in mind that helpcards are short, tightly written 8.5 x 11 inch cards meant to be used on the job. If you are looking for longer book length information, we suggest you also consider our book offerings on performance management and appraisal.


About Company

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?

Get in Touch

  • Phone:
    (613) 764-0241
  • Email:
  • Address:

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