5 Signs of an Underperforming Employee

Every entrepreneur wants to find great employees who will help their business grow. But many leaders know, Finding good employees can be difficult. When you find the employees you’re looking for, managing them is another task. Although there are many productivity tracking tools available, it is sometimes difficult to truly assess a team member’s output and contribution to the business. This becomes more difficult when more employees work remotely.

Having clear metrics, goals and objectives can help you understand which of your employees are performing well. However, these things don’t always help you track how well the employee is interacting with customers, engaging with the team or representing the brand. This is why, as a leader, you need to spot the signs that an employee is underperforming. In this article, we’ll look at what you should look for if you suspect a team member is underperforming.

Common causes of underperformance at work

whether a The employee is preparing to leave or have lost their motivation to succeed, poor performance at work is an insidious problem that should be addressed quickly and strategically. If left unchecked, employee performance declines can seriously harm your business. But not all causes of underperformance should be blamed on the employee. Often, there is a gap in understanding or disconnection between employees and management.

Some common reasons for underperformance at work include:

  • Feeling undervalued
  • stress
  • Changes in personal life
  • Feeling inadequately compensated
  • No support from management
  • Mental health problems
  • Goals are unattainable
  • Destroy completely by burning

Regardless of an employee’s reason for failing to meet company standards, workplace laxity hurts everyone. And that’s unacceptable if you want to grow your business and create a winning culture. Communication with your employee can help you identify and resolve the root of the problem. Below, you’ll learn some subtle signs that an employee isn’t doing their best at work.

1. Complaints from peers

The first thing you’ll notice when an employee is underperforming is an increase in complaints made by their peers. To a lesser extent, workplace gossip is somewhat inevitable. But, if other employees consistently make disapproving comments about the same person, that’s a sign that something isn’t right.

When an employee underperforms, it creates a slippery slope for their peers. If one cog in a machine stops running properly, others have to pick up the slack. The same philosophy applies in the workplace.

Constantly covering for a vulnerable colleague can create resentment and conflict among employees. Good employees eventually get tired From carrying out the duties of others, and it can be fiery. One underperforming employee creates a domino effect among their peers.

2. Decrease in quality of work

One of the most obvious and common signs of an underachieving employee is a distinct decline in the quality of their work. If they used to complete tasks diligently and up to standard, but lately they’ve been slipping, it’s time to start a conversation about workplace performance.

One quality of great employees is high quality work. When an employee consistently does their best to deliver results for the company and quality service to their customers, it’s a sign that the employee really cares. A decline in job quality may be a sign that a The employee has stopped caring About their work and their work.

3. Customer Complaints

In more severe cases of employee underperformance, customers may pick on them for their lack of energy. When an employee comes to work feeling listless, disinterested or unmotivated, customers pick up on that and it affects their experience with your business.

One way to keep track of customer feedback to employees is to offer post-purchase surveys. Make some simple cards where customers can write down how they felt about their experience, and drop a name if they feel so inclined.

You can keep complete cards together and evaluate feedback regularly to make sure everyone is performing well. Additionally, keep an eye out for customer complaints on Yelp or Google reviews.

4. Attitude change

There’s nothing like a colleague who has a great attitude. An attitude of gratitude, determination and commitment to their position can lift the spirits of those around them. Sometimes, your best employees also have the best attitudes. However, if you notice an enthusiastic employee becoming cynical or negative, it could be a sign that performance problems are on the horizon.

There are many reasons here Why an employee might have a negative attitude at work Dissatisfaction in the workplace is becoming increasingly common. Not everyone has an easy time leaving their problems at the door. An employee who often comes to work tired, complaining or otherwise disgruntled can be a red flag.

Negativity is unfortunately contagious. An employee with a bad attitude can affect the energy level and mood of their colleagues, or prevent the rest of the team from performing at their best.

5. Engagement and Communication Drops

Employees who underperform will sometimes try to “fly under the radar” in the workplace. They may distance themselves from colleagues or refuse to attend company events. This can be a sign that they are trying to do as much as they can to get on with their job without making waves or being called out.

Additionally, employees experiencing burnout or stress at work may be less likely to communicate those feelings if they fear it will get them into trouble. Creating a space where open communication is rewarded can help prevent this. You should look for signs of employee burnout.

One of the most important things to do when an employee starts communicating less frequently is to communicate first. Talking to employees one-on-one in a private area can create a more personal connection. They may feel more comfortable talking about what’s out of touch with them at work.

what can you do

When an employee begins to drift and their performance declines, your first instinct may be to express your frustration or institute a form of company discipline. However, taking the time to patiently communicate with your employees can help you solve problems together.

Make sure your hard-working employees are rewarded and paid well for their efforts. This is to prevent workers from feeling ungrateful. 93% of employees who value work They’re motivated to do their best at work. However, many companies lose employees when they fail Appreciate their work.

Also, be sure Keep employee records. If you have a method of tracking performance, these records will help you better assess problem areas. If the employee’s struggles are because they are unable to handle the workload, work with them to give them the support they need.

Remember, as a leader, it’s important to learn how to help your team succeed. When every employee is successful, so is your business.


Although there are many opportunities to turn around a disengaged employee’s behavior, sometimes it just doesn’t work. If your efforts to help an employee succeed repeatedly fail, they may be a poor fit for the company. Use your best judgment to determine if an underperforming employee can be saved or if it’s time to let them go.

Ari bratisis

Tim Writer: Ari is a writer, blogger and small business owner based in Washington State.

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