Consistent good performance at work hardly happens by accident. It’s usually the result of some inner workings of the human person.

In this article, we addressed 3 of such things that determine performance. This list is (by no means) exhaustive.


3 key factors are responsible for top or poor performance of employees in the workplace:

1. Competence:

Competency simply refers to having the required skill set to deliver expected results on a given job or task.

No matter how good-hearted or compliant a job holder is, if he or she lacks the required competence for the job, there’s no way good results can be produced. If he or she is competent, you will have quality results. If the staff lacks requisite competence, the quality of the results you get will be poor with increased cost of production.

How do you improve competence?

To improve an employee’s competency level, consider the following points:

a. What Competencies Are Required For The Job?

Because each job function has its own competency requirements, the first thing to do to enhance best performance is to identify the skill sets required for the job at different levels.

Here, we can classify the skills required at different levels:

  • Basic
  • Intermediary
  • Advanced
  • Expert

With this classification, it becomes easier to place each job holder where his/her skills belong and set result expectations accordingly.

b. Is The Person On The Right Job?

Not everyone is suited for all kinds of jobs. You will have to be sure the personnel in question is suited for the job position being considered.

From experience, we have seen that people in the creative field like graphics, video editing, etc. find it hard to fit into administrative related positions and vice versa. Through one-on-one discussions, questionnaires, and other engagement tactics, business managers and human resource practitioners are better informed to know the jobs that different employees can more easily fit into for better performance.

c. Training

Once the two points above are attended to, the next thing to do is develop and deploy an effective training program.

Many organizations make mistakes with their training programs. First, their process of Training Needs Identification (TNI) is flawed. Consequently, the wrong training program is administered and of course the ROI is affected.

To get the best returns on training, it’s important to get the training needs identification process right and then administer the right training.

Also, it may be important to get the genuine interest and participation of the employee (s) involved in the planning and execution of the training plan. This will help in getting the best returns on the training investments.


d. Follow-Up On Training And Evaluation

After-training activities are also very important if the best outcomes are to come by. This will be achieved through one-on-one follow up on what was learnt for timely execution and training evaluation plans promptly implemented for further engagements.

Through proper follow up, the trainee can ask questions and get feedback when he/ she ‘hits rocks’ while applying what was learnt. Before long, there will be a full inculcation of the ideas and thoughts received at the training.

  1. Attitude:

It’s said that your attitude determines your altitude, very true! This notion holds no exception in the workplace.

It’s however necessary to note that a bad attitude in the workplace is usually birthed by several things.

With a good attitude, you will have someone who finds a way in the most unlikely situations. He/she is willing to learn and more easily accept changes. But if the attitude is bad, there will be difficulties in communicating certain truths. The workplace will become a stage set up for the display of unprofitable behaviors leading to wastages, loss of profit, customers, etc. Coaching, root-cause analysis, training will help in improving the attitude.

Simple Ways of Improving Employees Attitudes in the Workplace:

a. Create an Environment Free of Strife

One of the fastest ways to deal with or avoid attitude baggage in the workplace is to create an environment free of strife. Avoid unnecessary competition and sentiments amongst employees. Make the work environment a happy one such that people can be free and easy.

It’s also important here for the management to have integrity and be free from bias.

b. Effective Leadership

This point can never be over emphasized. With good leadership, over 70% of attitudinal issues will be resolved before they become disastrous in the workplace.

In these days where people are faced with lots of challenges, people are more responsive when they feel the leader can be trusted. This has impacts on their attitudes.

c. Root Cause Analysis

The organization can go a step further to carry out a root cause analysis on an employee’s attitudinal disposition and help make the necessary changes.

This always leads to a win-win situation and in most cases, endears the loyalty of the employee to the organization.


3. Work Environment:

An individual’s work environment refers to the ideologies, principles, policies, culture, interactions (formal or informal) and such other factors that shape the relationships between the employee with the organization on one hand and with other members of the organization on the other hand. The work environment is a summation of all the rules that guide work in the particular organization, the results or effects/impact of these rules and the employees’ perception of how they are managed by the organization and its representatives.

It’s important to note that some components of the work environment are intentionally directed while others are a resultant creation of human interaction, hence not intentional.


Components of the Work Environment

A typical work environment is a make-up of the following components:

  • Organizational Philosophy
  • Company Culture
  • Company Policies
  • Formal and Informal Structures
  • Predominant Corporate Value System
  • Employee Participation,
  • Etc.

A good work environment makes deep positive impacts on everyone and easily transforms items 1 & 2 above. A good work environment like the ‘systems thinking approach’ assumes there are no bad guys and therefore helps to bring out the best in everyone.

A toxic work environment kills the good in everyone over a period of time. Before long, the guys with competence and good attitude who didn’t leave, begin to allude to ‘if you can’t beat them, you join them’.

What I’m saying here is that an incompetent person or one with bad work attitude will change for the better and fast in a good work environment while a toxic environment will convert competence to non-challance and good attitude to a terrible one at a greater speed.

I dare say that a toxic work environment contributes generously to the 85% of employees that are not engaged in their jobs worldwide according to Gallup poll.

Ways of Creating Happier Work Environments

a. Participatory Leadership

As humans, we all want to belong, we want our voices heard, we love to share in the glory and be recognized for our contributions.

Businesses must find ways to ensure the active participation of employees in the decision making process especially where it concerns them the most. Let their voices be heard and give them necessary recognitions.

With these, they feel a better sense of belonging as part of leadership. This helps make the transition to stakeholders from just employees.

b. Develop People Friendly Policies

There are different policies that address different issues in the workplace. Frantic efforts must be made to ensure the development and execution of people friendly policies. The organization must have a human face and not just be an anonymous being.

The policies should provide these and more:

  • Equal opportunities for all and fair hearing
  • Clear communication channels and an effective feedback system
  • Protection of everyone’s right, free from fear of intimidation or victimization
  • A balance of power; where actions can be challenged and your immediate supervisor is not the final authority.

Some flexible policies can actually be developed to create some fun in the organization like the following:

  • Celebrating staff members
  • Sending e-cards on anniversaries and on spouse’s birthdays.
  • Dress down or jeans Fridays
  • Special ‘Get Acquainted & Time Out’ programs.
  • Periodic sales of items like cars, household items, foodstuffs, etc. at discounted rates to members of staff.
  • Periodic team performance awards and prizes.


Because of the peculiar nature of most businesses, it’s necessary that the managers clearly state the kind of human interactions they prefer to have in the organization and develop the right policies to match it with action.

I would say it again and again, consistent top class performance cannot happen in a toxic environment. The environmental factor is so important that it’s number 1! And this matters not only to the work world; the social, political and economic system around the world follow the same rule in this regards.

The End

What do you think? What are the 3 key factors for efficiency for you? Let’s have your view in the comments section below.


Richard Uwamari – Richardizm


About the author

Richard Uwamari – Richardizm is a certified management consultant and leads the team at hrm2day.com. He is also the consulting partner at Richystar Consulting limited, a management consulting firm based in Lagos Nigeria.

Having been in the HR industry for over a decade now, he’s contributed his expertise in meeting ‘people needs’ of several local and international organizations. Asides his management consulting interests, Richard has a deep commitment to youth empowerment where he’s been involved in several developmental activities. He likes music and good food!



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