Is poor employee performance affecting your business?


It is common sense that if your employees are not performing up to standard, then your business as a whole will not be performing to its full potential. However, many business owners surprisingly underestimate this linkage. Even more surprisingly, many employers who recognize the correlation do not take steps to address the issues involved, or take the wrong steps and end up making matters even worse.

Issues that can affect employee performance

Of course, many issues can affect the performance of employees. A lot of these may be directly related to the work environment or to work targets. For example, the work may present the wrong level of challenge, interpersonal team dynamics may be problematic, or targets may be poorly defined. However, there are a number of common issues in which the underlying factor lies beyond the workplace. For example, employee performance may be affected by issues that fall under one of the following categories:

  • Stress
  • Domestic life-style or problems
  • Personal health or family health

Worst-case scenarios

In the worst cases, issues that affect work performance from factors outside the workplace may require some form of intervention to diagnose and treat. Difficult cases can arise from, for example, an employee’s battle with drug abuse or alcohol dependency, or with severe health problems such as depression or an acute physical illness. There may be means available to determine the factors at play, such as the use of an oral fluid lab test to verify drug or alcohol use. However, these approaches need to be used in an appropriate manner, with a view to improving quality of life for the employee as well as benefiting the company’s bottom line.

Impacts of poor employee performance

The first signs of difficulty at the workplace are likely to be visible in performance, even if the reasons are not immediately obvious. Visible impacts on work may include:

  • important deadlines being missed
  • lower than expected workloads
  • the loss of clients

In each of these cases, and in other situations, the poor performance can have a direct impact on the company’s profit, growth, or even reputation.

Measures to improve employees’ performance and morale

A number of actions can be taken at work to attempt to rectify or improve the ailing employee’s performance. When the issue is internal with the company, a greater focus on targets, job satisfaction, and even pay and incentives can help. However, when issues are rooted in health or life-style issues, other forms of intervention may be required. This may involve positive assistance in overcoming difficulties such as drug or alcohol abuse. On the other hand, incremental disciplinary measures, in consultation with specialists in human resources, may be required.


Difficulties at work and at home can directly affect an employee’s work performance, which in turn can directly impact business. Warning signs can often be seen in measurable work performance statistics. However, intervention with effective measures to help to solve problems and raise performance levels depends on accurately identifying the nature and severity of the issue at hand.