Franchise Success Call

3 Reasons Why Employees Underperform

culture leadership people Apr 23, 2024
why employees underperform

Very few businesses, if any at all, can exist without people. That’s why business owners must be great at managing people and have the ability and skills to lead and inspire those men and women.

Also, they should be able to develop and train them for the role they are hired to do. This has to happen even if the job is similar to their previous role because the company is different, there are new processes, procedures, policies, and new products and services.

What happens when the employees underperform? If you can understand the following three reasons why employees do not do their jobs as they should, you will be able to identify how to change the situation.

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In this blog post, we’ll go over each of these reasons and what you can do to change that and help these men and women get to where it is expected.


Reason #1: They do not know how to do the job

The first reason why people underperform is because they simply don’t know how to do what you expect them to do. There is a concept in management called “the Peter Principle”, developed by Laurence J. Peter, that refers to a tendency in most organizational hierarchies.

What it states is that competent employees will continue to be promoted, but at some point, they’ll reach a position for which they are incompetent, and will then remain in those positions because they do not demonstrate any further competence that would get them recognized for additional promotion.

Don’t miss this Mini tip: First Steps To Grow Your Employees Successfully

What to do to prevent this? First, you have to identify the specific areas where people are underperforming. Once you know what skill or ability they are lacking, you must train them on the processes and procedures they need to be able to do their job with a high level of excellence. Not only that: you have to give them the support and the proper follow-up, so they can grow within your company.

If you do that, you’ll give them the capability, competencies, and confidence to do the job right

And remember: just because someone is incompetent at a job doesn’t mean they are unable to do it. It just means that, to that point, they don’t yet have the knowledge they need to succeed. It's all about training.

Another consideration: some people understand what you teach them very fast while others might take longer. As a leader, you need to identify the speed at which people learn and how they learn, to adapt and be the type of trainer, coach, and leader they need so they can succeed in their position.


Reason #2: They Can’t Do The Job

Some people are just unable to do certain jobs. It's not that they need training, it's just that some things are beyond their capabilities. Take me as an example. If you give me something to memorize, I know I’m going to fail because I have a very bad memory. I have developed skills and tools to help me, but surely, I’m not going to remember certain things. It's not that I'm not smart, but memorizing is something I’m just not able to do.

My son is another example. He used to work for a franchise organization and was very good at helping customers, he had a great attitude, was courteous, and did well in the cashier area. So, one day the manager put him in the drive-thru. But pretty soon, he realized he wasn’t good at that.

He was not good at multitasking: he couldn’t organize himself to listen to someone in the headset and, at the same time, coordinate the ordering, the packaging, and handing out the products through the window. He got really frustrated and confused because he was making mistakes and he did not understand what people were telling him. 

He was a great employee, but he couldn’t do this job well. After several attempts, the manager also realized that, so they kept him in the cashier position where he could focus on one task at a time, and do a great job attending customers.

If you find someone struggling with their job, that does not mean that they cannot be a productive, positive member of the team elsewhere. Identify the people’s strengths and weaknesses and find an activity better suited for them. This will help not only them but the company as well.

Keep learning: How to Motivate Your Employees


Reason #3: They Don’t Want to Do it

The third reason employees underperform is simply that people do not want to do the job. But wait: that doesn’t mean you automatically need to get rid of this person. You should take the time to find out why they are taking that attitude, so you have the information and tools you need to hopefully, change that.

It is very common that employees get disheartened at work and it is really hard to gain their trust and excitement back. Maybe it has to do with their personal lives, and you may be able to help them. Or perhaps it’s something within the company’s culture and you can correct that to turn that person around. 

What I’m saying is that you have to investigate what’s happening so you can decide what the next steps should be. This will take time and effort, but if you truly care about your people, you must do it to be able to apply the proper actions based on those discoveries.

I Have Never Fired Anyone. This is Why


If you like to acquire the skills you need to lead people and be a better leader for them, I would like to invite you to explore our leadership and management training programs

We have great programs for unit managers, for multi-unit leaders, and for multi-unit franchisees. They are designed specifically to help these professionals by giving them the tools, knowledge, leadership, and management skills they need to be successful. 

If you want to learn more about our programs, click here!


  • Are you providing your team members with a formal training plan so they can grow within your company?
  • Do you need to reinforce any process or system with your employees to have them perform better?
  • Is every team member working in the right position or can they shine better at another role?
  • What can you do to motivate your collaborators?