Performance-related problems in the workplace

People bring all sorts of positive aspects of their personality to a workplace, not to mention the skills they have that benefit the business they work for. However, from time to time, for a variety of reasons, the performance of employees can be affected by situations both inside and outside the workplace.

If you find that an employee’s performance is being affected, it’s important to take the time to find out why, and then to address the problem. It may or may not be in your complete control, but discovering the underlying cause will not only help the employee but will also be good for your business as well.

Internal factors

Sometimes the problem arises in the workplace and you have the opportunity to address it and deal with it. An increasing workload can have a major effect on an employee, with additional stress and the worry that there are not enough hours in the day to complete tasks properly. Performance drops off, and if a heavy workload is the reason, then you can do something about it, such as employing another worker – performance can then be improved.

There are times when an employee may be given too many jobs at once, and the constant juggling of tasks can lead to loss of concentration and consequently mistakes being made. These could be costly in terms of lost production, or dangerous if using heavy machinery or working on a fast production line. You can solve the problem by spreading the jobs more widely amongst the workforce or, again, adding an employee, whether full-time or part-time.

External factors

You have little or no control over what an employee does outside the workplace because it is their business. However, if it affects your business, then you have a right to know and work to understand what the problem is and how you may be able to help resolve it.

It’s understandable that when events outside the workplace affect an employee, they may not fully concentrate on their job. It’s possible that drugs and alcohol may be a problem for some employees and could have become an addiction. Someone who goes out drinking all night is not best placed to work effectively the next day, and those who take illegal drugs can often have impaired judgement, which is dangerous both for them and for their co-workers.

If you suspect that problems are arising from drug abuse, talk it over with the employee and, with their agreement, use an oral fluid lab test to check for substances. You can then work to help solve the difficulty.

Family problems may also be a factor in affecting performance. An unhappy and stressful home life, the loss of a family member, or even the strain of moving house could contribute to workplace worries and loss of application to tasks at hand.

Identify and solve the problem

Always be aware when performance drops, identify the problem as best you can with your employee, and work with them to help them deal with whatever is affecting the way they perform in the workplace.

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