Most people at work are good employees.  They do what’s expected most of the time.  They work hard, come to work every day and play well with others.  Some employees go above and beyond the normal expectations.  They arrive early, stay late and are nice to have around.  But then there are those few employees and occasionally good employees, when they do it wrong or not at all.

We have all asked ourselves at some point, “What’s going on?  Why can’t they just do what I asked them to do?”

Here in this series, we will highlight 13 reasons that can affect a person’s performance and provide some ideas on how to handle them when they arise.  Many managers feel that they are just not motivated, which leads to non-specific answers to the problem.  In contrast, knowing what the problems are changes the question from, “How do I motivate them?” to “How do I improve their performance?”  Understanding this concept leads to specific actions that can be taken.

They Don’t Know Why They Should Do It

Managers will describe employees’ non-performance in many ways:

  • They do not think  the work is important or worth the effort
  • They do not want to do the work
  • They do not have a reason to do the work
  • They do not care

Business people are frequently required to do things a certain way for reasons that are not always clear to employees.  For example: My supervisor jumps all over me if I don’t grab the phone as soon as it rings.  (The reason the phone needs to be answered within 2 rings is that there is a customer service image the company wants to present to their customers.)

What Can You Do?

People will do things you want because you told them, provided you watch them all the time.  Who has time for that!  The reason for doing things must be important enough for them to choose to perform even when the manager is not there.  For example:  At SmartTalent team meetings there is a segment on why we do the things we do.

So, What Steps Can You Take?

  • Before you put people to work, let them know why they should do the things you pay them to do
  • When you want people to change and help solve a problem or improve quality, you should discuss the problem(s) in detail, discuss the goals, discuss solutions, explain the expected benefit of success and explain what happens if they fail
  • When a task is difficult or undesirable, make an effort to explain the why and benefits.  You need to be convincing
  • Don’t tout the reason for doing things are for “King and Company”
  • Explain why they should do a particular task.  Detail the personal rewards they gain for performing the task successfully; increased knowledge, opportunity, financial reward, prestige, etc.  Also, detail the consequences for not performing the tasks successfully.  What is on the line and why you believe they are the person to complete this project or task

The key to success is communication.  It always is.  Don’t assume the person who you have designated to do the task is of the same mindset as you regarding their job or your organization.  As their leader, it is up to you to determine how to reach each person.

Learn more about handling employee problems.