Back in August this year we wrote a blog on Why you must not avoid those difficult conversations. We outlined the many reasons why it is sometimes easier to just ignore things in the short term, even though the potential damage this can cause further down the line can be far greater than the original issue. We concluded the blog by providing you with some tips to help you deal with these situations.
This time, we are looking at the consequences of avoiding conversations regarding poor performance at work and the associated problems this can cause. Neglecting to deal with poor performance can lead to the following issues:
Loss of productivity: An employee who is not working effectively, making mistakes for whatever reason, arriving for work consistently late or taking many days off work sick will have an impact on productivity. This can have a knock-on effect all the way down the line to customers and colleagues, which will in turn have further knock-on effects for business efficiency.
Lost customers and revenue: This can be the knock-on effect of a loss of productivity or indeed loss of reputation if word is spreading that things are in decline. The bottom line will be affected, and business growth will falter, affecting not just the present, but also the future of your company.
Loss of employee morale and increasing negativity within the business: The people who are most likely to be affected by poorly performing employees are the colleagues who work most closely with them. These colleagues will form their own view of the situation, which may include negative perceptions about you and your management capabilities. For example, they may get a false impression of your leadership abilities, your courage to take action in difficult situations and your commitment to deal with the really important issues that need to be addressed in your business to secure its future. They may lose faith in the “management”. They will consider their own performance, reflecting on how hard they work every day, the fact they arrive on time, are always co-operative and a team player, and are professional at all times. They may surmise that you potentially do not notice or remember these things, or the positivity they add to the team. These good employees will therefore become demotivated and negative, which will affect business performance, output and customer service.
Increased potential for employment tribunals and legal action: When you take no action regarding underperforming employees, it can make other employees feel there is no point in approaching you with their own concerns. They will have noticed that you are reluctant to address difficult employee issues and therefore don’t feel confident that you will listen to their concerns. This may result in employees feeling the only way to achieve a resolution is to take action through a tribunal or other legal route.
Increased employee turnover: Decreasing morale and the reduced ability to manage the team will take its toll on your employees, who will be likely to look for alternative employment in a more positive and enjoyable workplace where they feel valued. This will have a negative impact on customers, the skills base within the organisation, and morale for the wider workforce. They say that “people work for people and not companies”, so be ready for the fall out.
The domino effect: Poor performance can create further poor performance down the line, leading to a spiralling out of control. Your team will have watched carefully how you manage and deal with the poorly performing team member. They will then expect this lack of leadership and management to be afforded to them so that they can cut their performance levels down. If these employees are allowed to get away with poor performance, it will have a significant effect on the business. Disgruntled employees love to tell others about how bad things are. They may even post bad reviews on sites such as Glass Door (a sort of Trip Advisor for the workplace), which can have long lasting repercussions.
Perceived preferential treatment for others: If you do not deal with situations and employees are allowed to “get away with things”, such as not meeting deadlines or refusing to do certain elements of their job role with impunity, they become viewed of as “untouchable” by their colleagues. This is very likely to lead to resentment from their co-workers, as well as being unjust and unfair. It is likely to end badly in many ways for the company.
Loss of respect from your team: If you ignore workplace issues, it will, without question, mean that you will lose the respect of your team. This will have a negative effect on so many levels. They will feel they cannot learn from you and hence won’t progress. They might downgrade their effort at work if they have noticed there are no consequences for poor work. In these circumstances, working relationships will continue to decline and recovering from such a situation will not be easy.
We hope that this has highlighted some of the consequences of not dealing with poor performance at work. You will have noticed that these can be more far-reaching than first imagined. You may find some of the guidance in our blog Why you must not avoid those difficult conversations helpful. Of course, if you are unsure where to start we are here to help.
Contact Outsourcing HR for advice on dealing with poor performance
If you feel there are potential poor performance issues in your organisation, contact us today to nip it early in the bud. Simply call 07894-546333 or email Margaret Keane.