The subject of dealing with problem employees has frequently come up on this blog. In the past, I’ve talked about the difference between performance, behaviour and attitude issues, the importance of articulating the problem, and the single most important question to ask yourself before you ever raise the issue with your employee. Today, I thought I’d step back and focus on what makes up employee performance, both good and bad. Employee performance is a function of two things – ability and motivation.
Performance = ability X motivation
Ability is the physical, intellectual or emotional capability of your employee to get the job done. Is your employee even able to do what is required in the job? Motivation however has to do with desire and commitment. Does the employee WANT to do the job at the level and competence that is required?
Why does this matter? Because you need to assess both factors when trying to get at the root cause of a performance problem. Someone who is highly motivated but at a reduced level of ability can often achieve above-average performance. Unfortunately the opposite is not always true. But don’t be fooled into thinking that motivation can overcome ANY lack of ability – the two are still necessary requirements for exceptional (or even adequate) employee performance. In my experience, you can operate tolerably at 50% ability, but anything less than 75% motivation will get you nowhere.
So what do you think? What are the minimum required levels of ability and motivation to have an adequately performing employee?