Factors Affecting Employee Performance

Factors Affecting Employee Performance


There are six main categories of factors that influence the performance of individual employees and teams.  These performance factors can be addressed individually or collectively to increase employee performance. 


Six Factors Affecting Employee Performance

  1. Ability and Personal Traits
  2. Knowledge and Skill
  3. Clear and Expectations
  4. Motivation and Incentives
  5. Tools and Resources
  6. Morale and Culture



Six Factors Affecting Employee Performance Explained


Ability and Personal Traits

First and foremost, the employee must have the ability to perform the job tasks.  Ability is a person’s physical and mental capability to do something.  If he or she does not possess the ability, no matter how much training, motivation, tools, or other factors are increased, the desired results will not be achieved. 

The problem could be an employee lacks certain physical traits such as strength or flexibility,  or they may lack mental traits such as confidence or assertiveness.  Either way, it is essential to create the correct job fit. 

Job fitting is the action of aligning a person’s strengths and abilities with the job requirements.  The process involves identifying individual employee and matching those to competencies required for the job.  A proper job fit improves employee engagement and job satisfaction resulting in increased productivity.  It can also reduce negative factors including stress and boredom which could lead to employee turnover.  



Knowledge and Skill

This factor involves a determination of whether or not employees have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the job functions.  


Knowledge:  factual and procedural information a person has accumulated

Skills:  proficient and effective use of a person’s knowledge and abilities in performance


Knowledge refers to factual information and theoretical concepts regarding a particular topic acquired through sensory input: reading, watching, listening, touching, etc.   Skills, on the other hand, refer to the ability to apply information to complete a tack or activity.  Skills are developed through practice.  The combination of knowledge and skill allows a person to excel in his or her job performance.

The good news is that both knowledge and skill can be enhanced through and coaching.  Training can give the employee knowledge and develop the basic skills to perform the job functions.  and can enhance those basic skills through practice and feedback. 



Clear and Expectations

Employees need to know what is expected of them.  They need to know their responsibilities and have a clear about what they need to accomplish.  This means the company needs to establish clear expectations and guidelines by which to achieve them.  

Employees must have a clear picture of the goal they are to achieve.  If this picture does not exists or lacks clarity, they cannot tell if they are making progress or when they have completed the task or assignment, let alone if it has been completed properly. 

When everyone understands the and expected outcomes, it is easier to take steps to get there and measure performance along the way.  Organizations without clear goals are more likely to spend time on tasks that do not impact results.



Motivation and Incentives

It is one thing to be capable of doing something; it is another thing to want to actually do it.  Lacking motivation means that the person lacks the drive to do their best.  Even though an employee may have the knowledge, skill, and ability to perform the job functions, they may simply be disengaged and not have the desire to do so.  If employees do not have the enthusiasm and desire to work, it would have a significant impact on their performance.

Motivation is the primary force that drives a person to action.  An employee has to be at least somewhat motivated to perform their job tasks.  This motivation can be internal, external or a combination of both.  Some employee are internally motivated and will perform well without special incentives.  However, many employees need incentives such as rewards and recognition to perform at their best. 

Incentives can encourage employees to work harder or more efficiently.  Successful organizations provide incentives to motivate employees to positively contribute to the organization’s and objectives.  Incentives can include recognition, bonuses, stock options, promotions, paid time off, or profession development opportunities.



Tools and Resources

In order to perform the job functions at a high level, it is essential to have the necessary and adequate tools, equipment, and resources.  An employee can be highly motivated, skilled, and knowledgeable, but if they lack the necessary resources they would not be able to complete the task correctly and efficiently. 

Resources can include an array of items such as;

  • equipment
  • workspace
  • lighting
  • tools
  • money
  • software
  • procedure manuals
  • job aids
  • safety measures
  • coaches/mentors


A lack of resources can adversely affect the other performance factors such as ability, motivation, and morale.  Having outdated equipment, inadequate tools, and limited supplies directly affects an employee’s ability to effectively perform their job functions which can have a detrimental effect on a company’s bottom line.  Additionally, a lack of resources will often result in employee frustration which affects motivation, and if vented can create low morale amongst the employees. 



Morale and Culture

An organization’s environment centers on company culture and morale.  Employee morale is a direct reflection of the health of an organization’s culture.  High morale indicates that the employees are satisfied with their jobs and work environment, making them more engaged and productive.

Culture and morale feed off each other.  A positive culture can create upbeat morale, and a high morale produces a uplifting culture. 

High morale occurs when employees feel taken care of by their organization.  This feeling percolates throughout the organizations and establishes a positive culture.  On the flip side, a positive workplace culture boosts employee morale as it creates an environment that is enjoyable and contributes to increased productivity. 

The bottom line is that happy employees equal higher productivity and a more pleasant work environment for everyone.


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