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What causes an employee to become an underperformer?

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

What causes an employee to become an underperformer?

Underperforming employees can not only undermine their team’s performance but can negatively impact your organization’s morale, culture and performance.

Until you identify the root cause of your employee’s dip or deep dive in their performance, it is impossible to address effectively.

So, here we go.

The most common reason for underperformance is lack of motivation. It presents itself in unhealthy and destructive behaviors in the workplace. It is also at the root, and the result, of most items listed in my checklist:



- Feel they deserve higher compensation

- Stayed too long in a job that is no longer interesting

- Lack of growth opportunities

- Loss of respect for or worthy communication with manager

- Not enough variety in their work-

- Lack of leadership transparency

- Personal stress

- Burnout - not uncommon in today’s workforce

- Inability to focus - this can be behavioral/medical or noisy distracting work environment

- Lack of skill to deal with team conflict

- Lack of training- onboarding inadequate, ongoing skill/knowledge training insufficient

- Bad hire – incapable of performing job

- Promoted out of their skill level

- Overworked and overwhelmed

- Too afraid to quit

- See no path forward and stagnate

- No passion for work - just needed the job

- Toxic work environment - negative, high-pressure atmosphere

- Lack of on-the-job resources

- Discomfort sharing mental or physical health needs

- Lack of direction/unclear goals

- Job is not what they expected

- Not a good culture fit

- Become too comfortable doing less work

- POPO – Passed Over & Pissed Off

If even one of these issues are contributing to less than stellar performance by a single member of your workforce, then it begs your attention before your small flame becomes a fast spreading fire.

Addressing these issues will be the topic of my next post, including how to deal with:

· first offenders

· when a performance improvement plan is not enough

· when to stand down

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