Performance Gaps: Employee Failure Or Something Else?

Written by on March 15, 2016 in Process Management with 0 Comments

Performance Gaps, Policies, Processes And Procedures – What’s The Link?  As managers, we often blame performance gaps or mistakes on the employee.  They must be doing something wrong because they aren’t performing the way we expect them to.  It might be an employee performance issue but just maybe it’s your policies, processes and procedures.

An employee performance gap is a measurement of the difference between the expected and actual performance of the employee.  It is often measured by failing to meet baseline standards, organizational or financial goals and objectives.

broken-linkDo you have your policies, processes and procedures documented?  If not, how can you expect the employee to perform to expectations?  Let’s consider some variables.  We often use these terms interchangeably but they have very different definitions.

Policies are the principles, rules and guidelines the company establishes or adopts to reach its long-term business goals.  These policies are typically published in some fashion so that everyone in the organization is aware of them.  For example, a company may have a performance management system for employees to ensure they understand what work is expected of them and how they will receive feedback relative to those expectations.

Processes are sequences of actions that lead to a particular result.  This is typically the high-level map of the various process steps that are needed to accomplish a particular task.

Procedures are the actual step-by-step instructions for how to complete a process or task.

Companies often have only one or two of these components documented making it very difficult for the employee to be held accountable and to ensure the task is being completed correctly.

Let’s look at a Customer Service example.

customer-serviceYour employee, Mary, is tasked with onboarding new customers.  Her manager is not happy with how quickly she is getting customers set up in the system and with all of the information that is missing.  Mary feels that she is doing a great job with the information she is receiving and doesn’t believe that her work should be criticized so harshly by the manager.

When we take a look at the information Mary is using to complete the onboarding process, we find that there are some serious gaps.


  • Company policies are incomplete and do not specify a minimum response time for setting up a new customer in the system.
  • Customer Relationship Managers do not have guidelines for requesting information from the new customer in a timely manner in order to complete the data in the system.
  • There are no standards developed for setting up and conducting business with new customers.


  • Customer Service does have process steps identified for how to onboard a new customer.
  • There are no processes identified for what to do if there is missing information.


  • Some procedures are well-developed; others need additional information.
  • The procedures are difficult to find and employees are not trained to follow them.

Performance Gap

  • It may not be just a performance gap that is affecting how well Mary performs; it could be policy and procedure issues contributing to her failure to perform.
  • The lack of policies for onboarding new customers means that customer relationship managers are not obtaining the information that Mary needs to complete the data entry procedure.

In Summary

Performance Gaps may not be the fault of employees.  Unless you have taken the time to document your policies, processes and procedures, you are setting your employees up to fail…or at least not perform to your highest standard.

Documenting your policies, processes and procedures is critical in growing your business and achieving the best results possible.

If you need help in identifying the gaps in your performance, policies, procedures and processes, give me a call at 260-436-5064 or send an email to We can provide an objective review of your documentation and make suggestions for improvement.

Tags: , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *