5 Ways Low-Performing Employees Affect Everyone in the Workplace

Most companies have a mix of low-performing employees, average-performing employees, and high-performing employees. Although most hiring managers and employers strive to hire only the best employees, this doesn’t always happen. Someone can look good on paper but still end up being a low performer.

According to Workforce, often, these employees do just enough to get the job done, but should be doing better. These workers may be in a job position that requires skills that don’t match their own skill set, or they may be experiencing a personal crisis — in which case, hopefully their performance will improve. However, some people really are just low performers. In this case, these people can negatively affect the workplace by leaving too much work for other employees, causing other employees to let go of their own high-performing work mentality, or by affecting employee morale. Here are some examples of how the workplace can be affected.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

1. The work quality and quantity can be altered

If there are too many low-performing employees in an organization, the overall quality and quantity of the work being put out can be lowered. If multiple employees are lazy or get easily distracted, not as much work will be done as there would be with more on-task employees. Sometimes, the quality of the work can be affected as well if too many employees either don’t do a good job or just don’t care enough to do their best. Occasionally, if co-workers see a low performer getting away with mediocre work, they won’t feel any incentive to do their best or produce a lot of work. Either way, the work being produced isn’t as good, and often not as much gets done.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

2. Other employees can get stuck with too much work

Most of us remember sighing deeply during high school or college when teachers assigned group assignments. Many people still feel frustrated when they are forced to work in groups. There are always certain people who work harder than others, or who are natural leaders, and these people often get stuck with the most work. Whether intentional or not, employees who are low performers will often fail to do their share (or do it right). Sometimes, workers notice that another employee is a hard worker and will always pick up their slack so they intentionally don’t do their share, or don’t do the best that they could. This can cause high-performing employees to have more work than they have time for, which can eventually affect other projects as well.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

3. Employee morale can be affected

Although there are low-performing employees in most companies, no one wants to work with them. Since low performers often leave work for other people or their work has to be redone, this can affect employee morale. Even if a low performer is truly doing their best, but isn’t meeting deadlines, other employees can feel frustrated. It can be difficult for employees to feel satisfied with their job if they are constantly picking up the slack for others or if they are working with someone who is too negative or regularly complains.

Low performers themselves can feel down or frustrated if they truly want to work hard and do quality work, but they are not well matched to their particular position. While some low performers are simply lazy, others are very intelligent and are truly hard workers, but they cannot properly use their skills in the position that they are in. In this case, according to Workforce, talent managers shouldn’t ignore the problem; they should try to figure out why the employee is struggling.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

4. Employees start to question their bosses

If employees who are performing at the medium or high level of performance consistently see that other employees are getting away with a lower level of work, they will become frustrated. Not only can this affect employee morale, but it can also affect the workers’ relationship with their boss. If a boss fails to notice that an employee isn’t pulling their share, or never calls that person out for their behavior, then other employees can feel resentful. A good boss needs to be aware of his or her employees, as well as their work, and bosses who are too busy (or too ignorant) to manage their employees will suffer from employees who become dissatisfied.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

5. Money and time get wasted

This is the most obvious way that low performers negatively affect the workplace. If you have a temporary low performer (like someone going through a crisis), this situation probably won’t permanently harm the company. However, over time, employing low performers without trying to improve their skills or delegate specific work that they can handle will cost the company money. This means that the company may be paying someone to do much less work (and with a lesser quality) than other employees. If less work is accomplished, or it isn’t done well, this harms the company. This also takes money away from other co-workers who could potentially be getting a raise or promotion. Time is also wasted if projects have to be fixed or redone, or work isn’t finished in time.

According to ere.net, weak employees can also make more serious errors, and can also cost money because of absenteeism, can damage customer relationships, cause accidents, or even steal or reveal important company secrets.

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