Many employers usually use a unidirectional approach in addressing the unpleasant and low-level performance of employees. They believe only the employees are to be blamed for the drop in their performance levels. However, professional observations over time have proven that this is not always the case: low-level performance of employees can be traced to two sources; the employers and the employees.
How are employers responsible for the poor performance of their workers? Below are six key factors.
Some workplaces are like military zones: intimidation permeates the length and breadth of the working environments. Instilling fear in the employees will not lead to high productivity. On the contrary, it reduces their productivity levels. The workers will no longer look for creative ways to carry out their tasks; they only look for the common, deadbeat approaches. South China Morning Post in an article titled Why Instilling Fear in Your Workers Just Won’t Work says: “While(these) fear tactics may get employees to work harder, in situations of fear the employees may be less able to generate higher-quality work that involves creativity. To facilitate creativity, organisations need to help employees be relaxed and stay in a positive mood rather than working under fearful conditions.”
Forbes Magazine describes micromanaging as one of the “most damaging habits” an employer can have. “The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done,” Theodore Roosevelt once observed, “and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
Micro-managing burdens the employees as they are made to go through rigid procedures which, eventually, hamper their productivity. It makes employees overly dependent, uncreative, and incapable of making good on-the-spot decisions.
As an employer, what micro-managing does is that it ensures there is only one way of getting things done – the employer’s way. Whereas, employees (who are ideally specialists in their respective duties), can make better inputs if they are not gagged with neck-deep management.
Richard D. White, Jr., PhD, in The Micromanagement Disease: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Cure, says: “A micromanager can be much more than just a nuisance in today’s complex organization. The bothersome boss who second guesses every decision a subordinate makes, frets about the font size of the latest progress report, or inspects all of his employees emails not only frustrates and demoralizes his harassed workers, but seriously damages the productivity of the organization and, over the long run, may jeopardize the organization’s survival.”
3. Discipline mechanism without reward mechanism
Many employers put in place strong discipline mechanisms to ensure that erring members of their workforce are appropriately sanctioned. This is not bad. However, many do not think that it is equally appropriate and very important to ensure there is a corresponding provision to reward employees when they carry out their tasks exceptionally.
4. Indiscriminate lay-offs
Similar to the point above, many corporate establishments are very rash when it comes to laying-off their employees. When employees are indiscriminately laid-off, without genuine reasons, it sends a serious warning signal to their colleagues that their job is insecure. When employees are afraid they could lose their jobs within a twinkle of an eye without any cogent reason, their productivity level and commitment to organizational goals decrease as they begin to focus more on looking for better opportunities elsewhere.
Also, indiscriminate lay-offs often cause a ripple effect, introducing a missing link in organizational structure and affecting the productivity of others.
Leanes Lowrie in an article titled How a Layoff Affects an Organization says: “Because the layoff disrupts the status quo, employees have to pick up extra responsibilities and form new work relationships, which can cause stress. The productivity level of employees who work in fear is likely to go down. The situation is even more damaging to the company when the person who has lost his job stays around until the date of termination of his contract.”
Also, according to AlbertaWorks in Thinking About Layoffs? What You Need to Know Before Letting People Go, indiscriminate layoffs will lead to the following:
• “Your remaining employees may be worried and unhappy at work. Low morale makes productivity drop at a time when the business needs it to increase.
• Employees may resign if they fear losing their own jobs. Resignations create indirect costs through lost knowledge and skills, contacts, customers and potential market share.
• If your goal is to be an “employer of choice” in your industry, layoffs may damage your business’s brand and its ability to attract the best talent.
• Many ex-employees will be reluctant to return to the business that laid them off. This attitude could be a problem if you want to rehire them in the future
• There are many ways/levels of punishing erring employees; laying-off is the last in the chain.
Before lay-off, there are query, demotion, suspension, salary deduction, and so on.”
5. Welfare package: Remuneration
Employee’s welfare package includes all those facilities, services and benefits which are provided by employers to their staff for their comfort. They include salary, leave bonus, health insurance, end of year package, and so on. The more welfare facilities put in place by an employer, the higher the level of productivity of the employees. Employees working in an establishment where there is an adequate health insurance scheme to cater for their occupational hazards, for instance, are more likely to be more committed and perform better than their counterparts in other establishments with little or no health insurance scheme.
Knowledge and skills acquisition is continuous. Thus, any employer that wants more from his/her employees should give them continuous relevant training. When your employees are highly skilled and efficient, the productivity of the organization increases, therefore helping to facilitate organizational goals. However, so many employers nowadays expect their employees to be up to date in their specialisations without necessarily investing in them. While some believe that it is the job of the employees to continue to train themselves, some do not see the reason for continuous training at all.