When a supervisor notices a performance problem with an employee, one of the most difficult things to do is to diagnose why the issue is occurring. This is, however, a necessary step in order to effectively communicate with the employee and remedy the problem. There are seven main factors that need to be assessed when analyzing a performance problem.
Any one factor can influence poor performance, as opposed to superior job performance, which requires that a number of circumstances work together in a positive way. The first two of these factors are aptitude and skill. Aptitude refers to a person’s natural ability to perform a task and should not be confused with skill, which is their ability to learn to do a task. If an employee is lacking either aptitude or skill, their performance could suffer.
The next factor is an important one and is the depth of fundamental understanding of the tasks at hand. Effective management means clearly communicating a task, but to do it well, the employee has to understand it. No amount of skill or aptitude can make up for a lack of understanding of the task.
The next three factors have to do with the degree of effort that is expended on the task. First the employee has to choose to expend that energy at all. Then they have to choose how much energy to expend. There are a variety of reasons why someone would not make the effort. Lack or absence of effort is a major cause of poor job performance.
You are not in the clear, however, just because your employee had chosen to expend a lot of effort on a task, as that effort has to be sustainable. The choice to persist with a task is the next factor in job performance. The lack of this factor often leads to incomplete projects and may result from boredom or a lack of skills or aptitude.
The final factor is the most ambiguous and encompasses all outside factors. Job performance can sometimes be beyond the control of the employee and result from the company itself, including managers and co-workers. No matter what the factor, though, these issues should be addressed clearly and quickly in order to avoid a further decline in performance.
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