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3 reasons why organisations struggle with underperformance in the workplace

Your workforce acts as the driving force propelling your organisation forward – so it's unsurprising that the daily performance of your team significantly shapes the overall success of your organisation.

To remain successful in today’s competitive market, sustaining this success demands businesses to continuously bring out the very best of their workforce to retain and nurture their talent. However, is performance perhaps an underestimated asset?

According to WorkBuzz’s State of Employee Engagement 2023 research, a mere 18% of respondents saw an annual improvement in productivity, and a substantial 59% indicated that productivity remains constant, while nearly a quarter (23%) think it’s getting worse.

Keep reading to explore three reasons your organisation might be faced with underperforming employees or to gain insights on avoiding performance drawbacks in the future.

Lack of employee engagement or collecting feedback

When there’s a lack of employee engagement or effective feedback mechanisms, a gap emerges between teams and individuals, distancing them from the company’s goals. This detachment from the organisational vision and the work directly influences output quality. Consequently, fractures start surfacing in team dynamics. Employees, feeling uncertain and lacking motivation, begin to question the significance of their roles, particularly when there are no tangible changes.

How you can fix this:

Collecting feedback and taking clear actions based on it form the cornerstone of cultivating a more engaged workforce. When individuals feel their voices are heard and their input valued, it empowers them to vocalise their thoughts and actively contribute to making a difference within the organisation.

Performance management issues

Clarity regarding the consequences of poor performance is crucial within a work environment. However, it's equally important for individuals to understand their career trajectory and growth opportunities based on their performance. Without these elements in place, employees may experience stagnation or regression in their careers, creating disengagement.

How you can fix this:

Listening to teams and acknowledging their needs is fundamental. It's crucial to address these requirements by not only rewarding exemplary performance but also actively engaging with underperforming individuals to enhance their skill sets. Demonstrating the direct correlation between actions and their consequences, both positive and negative, is essential. Sharing success stories and highlighting the impact of actions helps individuals understand the outcomes of their contributions within the organisation.

Recruitment, retention, and training

The impending skills shortage poses a significant challenge across multiple business sectors, escalating recruitment difficulties. This scarcity of talent not only amplifies the challenges and costs of hiring but is also worsened by low retention rates. Disengaged employees, prone to seeking opportunities elsewhere, not only contribute to higher turnover but also are unlikely to advocate for your organisation as an attractive workplace to their networks. Additionally, poor retention has a lasting impact on remaining employees, especially team managers, saddling them with heavier workloads and firefighting duties. This strain distracts them from focusing on essential team development and evolution.

How you can fix this:

Consistent and transparent communication with both teams and individuals is paramount. It's crucial to gauge their sentiments about the company starting from their onboarding phase and continuously throughout their journey within the organisation. Analysing this feedback can unveil discernible patterns, enabling the implementation of targeted programmes and initiatives to address these challenges head-on. By actively seeking insights from employees and leveraging data to identify recurring issues, companies can develop and implement strategies to counteract these workforce-related difficulties.


This article contains a snippet from our eBook, Unleashing employee potential and productivity through engagement, which offers proactive solutions to empower HR leaders to strategically reposition employee engagement as a catalyst for driving productivity and performance. For 2 more reasons why organisations struggle with underperformance in the workplace, download the eBook here.

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