Managing employee results while engaging with them is a good combination for assessing performance for individuals.  When a good system is in place, then employees can really achieve their potential.

Every business assesses employee performance differently and some manage it more efficiently than others.  Throughout this article, we’ll discuss three aspects that could be negatively impacting results and how you can turn mediocre employee performance into better results.  

1. You’re not revisiting goals that have been set

Many businesses have annual appraisals in place.  Just discussing an employees performance once a year, is not good practice. This is a sure way to ensure mediocre employee performance. 

The first step to take is to identify a solid goal.  It needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. This is called a SMART goal and can go a long way toward strong team-building skills.

After creating a defined goal, it must be monitored. If you don’t monitor the achievement of goals, it’s easy for employees to get distracted, work on different priorities or not report setbacks.

Managers should be aware of employees’ progress so they can provide advice, encouragement, or assistance along the way. The employee must track their own progress as well. The best way to get results is by reviewing individual and team goals weekly or monthly (or whatever is decided by the company) to evaluate them.  In these meetings, you are able to review the goals’ progress, adjust timelines, give rewards, and improve the goal.

2. You’re only focusing on the end objective

It can be damaging to only focus on the end objective. It’s really important to pay attention to the steps that must be taken to get there, and the steps that have been taken so for. When evaluating results, consideration should be given on not only what was achieved, but to how the results were achieved.

Using a coaching approach is vital to help employees focus on the steps they are taking to achieve their objective.  Columbia University gave some good tips for informal and formal coaching opportunities.  A few of them include:

    • Focus on the work, not the individual.
    • Balance positive and constructive statements.
    • Try to see things from their perspective.  
    • Set follow-up dates.
    • Present corrective feedback in a positive, action-oriented way.

3. You’re feeding back unhelpfully

Managers need to eliminate unbalanced and unhelpful performance management feedback meetings. Too many of these review meetings are one-sided and feedback is only given and not received. To avoid the unbalanced process, Timothy G. Wiedman, Associate Professor of Management & Human Resources at Doane University, suggests using 360-degree assessments.

A 360-degree assessment allows customers, supervisors, colleagues, and subordinates to evaluate an employee. In the results, you are able to see the employees strong performance in areas and weaker performance in other areas.  This method gives a much more balanced look at an employee’s contribution to the organization.

Another important factor of feedback is creating a culture where employees feel comfortable giving feedback to each other. Employees should receive constructive feedback from colleagues and supervisors and equally be able to give feedback when necessary.


There are a number of actions managers can take to improve mediocre employee performance.

It is important to have employees set defined goals that can be measured and evaluated by their performance. When reviewing their performance, look at how they are achieving the goal and not just what the end result of the goal is.  

While evaluating, managers should do their best to be a resource to help the employee with their goals.

Lastly, when it comes to feedback, do all you can do to make it balanced and helpful.  One suggestion to do this was by using a 360-degree assessment.  The assessment allows opportunities for more than one person to evaluate the employee and it shows a more encompassing description of their performance.

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Annabelle Smyth is a freelance writer who covers everything from HR to technology and leadership skills. Her most recent work involves partnership marketing with Bamboo HR and CMOE where she has had the opportunity to learn about the relationship between leadership and successful businesses.