Why Employees Make Silly Mistakes

April 14, 2023

Are you tired of employees whose seemingly careless mistakes cost you time and money? Before you fire them, read on…

How many times have you asked yourself why no one else in your company has common sense? Poor decisions, lack of interest, and no self-motivation – these are criticisms we often hear from companies about their employees. And it’s usually accompanied by the common complaint “no one can do the job as well I do.”

A few months ago we had a meeting with a distraught business owner. One of his account managers didn’t communicate with a client whose account was performing poorly, resulting in the loss of their business. To make matters worse, he never informed his boss about the problem. The account manager felt confident that he could fix it and deliver results, so in his mind no communication was necessary. And this was not the first costly incident involving a lack of communication on this employee’s part, yet he had outstanding technical and problem-solving skills.

On another occasion, we helped a company whose customer service representatives made frequent order entry errors. Again, this resulted in loss of revenue and poor client satisfaction. It was difficult for this business owner to understand how such a simple, repetitive task could be so difficult for an otherwise intelligent person. This employee enjoyed speaking with customers and formed great relationships with them. She always went the extra mile to make sure the customer was happy and was great at producing add-on sales and up-selling.

So what would you do? Would you fire these employees? Probably not. The time and cost of finding, vetting, and training new employees is daunting for any small business owner. What happens instead is either the problem is ignored, and  frustration rises, or there is an attempt is made to fix the employee’s shortcomings. And that’s the problem. We spend more time trying to fix weaknesses than we do in developing strengths.

So, what should you do?

You’re much better off assessing employees’ strengths, natural talents, and interests. It’s not unusual for an employee to excel in one area while consistently underperforming in others. When someone is put in a job that doesn’t play to their strengths, they will often disengage and underperform. As an entrepreneur, it’s difficult to understand this because you wear whichever hat is necessary to make your company succeed. But no employee can maintain that level of commitment, especially if they feel incapable of doing their job because it isn’t suited to them.

To get the maximum commitment and performance from your employees, you must put each of them on the right seat on the right bus or the bus will go nowhere but downhill. If your employees come to work each day to do what they do best rather than perform a role that doesn’t fit them, they will have a positive impact on the future of your business. Whether you are faced with an unhappy, poor performer or a new employee, the key is in how you design the job. That’s what we suggested in each of the above scenarios, and it worked beautifully.

Start With the Job Description

Go back to the drawing board and avoid combining skills and qualities in your job descriptions that are not likely to be found in one core personality type. For instance, if you need a graphic designer don’t include things like project management tasks in the job description. A creative person is unlikely to excel in managing deadlines for others, following-up on tedious details, and changing gears at the drop of a hat. Recruit a graphic designer to design and you’ll get great results. The project manager is a different personality type altogether. It’s also important to ask the right questions at the interview and to implement a process for testing qualities and skills. If you are hiring someone to manage accounts, ask them demonstrate their skills to you in a practical session. Role play, and ask them to offer solutions to an existing problem. Since you’ll also want someone who communicates well in this role, test their abilities by introducing them to your team to see how they manage the conversations.

Try Testing

But most importantly use the tools that are available to you: aptitude and personality tests. This will help you to assign responsibilities that suit each person’s skills, personal qualities, and talents. Some of these tools are complicated, others are quick and easy. We obviously recommend e-Talent: its personality assessment makes sure the person’s personality is suited to the job, while the integrated behavioural profile will give you clues about cultural and team fit. By doing your homework and putting more time into your search upfront you’ll benefit for years to come. You’ll have happy, productive employees who love to come to work each day. Now ask yourself, what’s better than that?

Reproduced from Inc. with permission from the original author Marla Tabaka http://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/why-employees-make-stupid-mistakes.html