7 Reasons Why Employees Don't Work and What You Can Do About It

7 Reasons Why Employees Don’t Work and What You Can Do About It

In today’s business environment, employee underperformance has become a growing problem and a common topic of discussion among managers at businesses of all sizes. As managers decide to delegate work, frustrations run high as employees are expected to demonstrate good work and know what good results look like.

The reality is, however, different. Employees fail to perform for a couple of reasons, but the main reason for it could be that managers don’t realize that they may be contributing to their subordinates’ lack of performance. Yet it is critical that entrepreneurs and managers understand how to motivate their employees in order to start and run their businesses successfully.

Here are the seven reasons why employees don’t perform as they should, along with suggestions for improvement that managers will find helpful.

Reason #1: Many employees don’t know what’s expected of them at work

One of the primary reason employees don’t perform well is that they aren’t aware of the work standards they should maintain. Managers don’t help them set goals and thus there is no motivation to achieve them. Without clear guidelines about the expectations, employees don’t feel inclined to take initiative and perform at higher levels.

What to do about it: You can start by clarifying or setting goals for your projects. Define standards and expectations by giving a clear set of targets that are to be achieved. Your team members should know why they have to do a task so that they have that picture in mind and fully understand the importance of their work.

You must make sure that your employees are very clear on what they need to do. The first step is to clarify job titles and provide detailed job descriptions. Employees should have a clear understanding of what is expected of them even before they are hired – at the very first job interview.

There should be clarity on daily tasks needed to be accomplished and accountability processes. Although most jobs require flexibility, employees must be made clear on who should do what.

Hold them accountable for what they do and do so regularly. It’s the only way to ensure consistent performance from your worker.

Reason #2 Employees are hesitant to share their problems

The problem here is that most managers don’t understand how employees think. An employee may need something different from the manager to really understand work processes.

As a manager, you need to first understand the strengths and weaknesses of each of your team members. You must consider how a person works, interacts, what motivates him and how he would want to be acknowledged for his achievements.

It is critical that while understanding your employees, you must adjust your work style to maximise their performance. Is it public praise and accolades that motivate the worker? If yes, then make sure the employee’s project is more out front.

See that the employee is not being pushed to the corner. If you keep assuming that everyone else is like you, you are likely to hit a number of stumbling blocks, and the work at hand will only be delayed.

What to do about it: As a manager, you may want to assign new projects to everyone as per their potential. As long as your employee is growing and stretching, your company will benefit from employee satisfaction and high productivity levels. Bored employees tend to slack on performance. Make sure you are in constant communication with your employees to see if they are challenged enough.

Reason #3 Employees don’t know what’s in it for them

You think your employees are smarter when it comes to perks, but they underperform on company projects? Some people perform well with directives, but most want to know why they are given a task and what it will accomplish. They want to be part of the bigger picture, and would perform at their optimum levels when they develop ownership for the project.

Workplace motivation is important. Workers are motivated by perks, respect and appreciation. If they feel that they are being micromanaged, their creativity and motivation will slack off.

The more you understand what they need, the better the chances of creating the right environment to keep them motivated.
It is important to note the reward system that you set up for your office. Do you provide positive reinforcement for improved performance and good behavior? The more you reward appropriately, the higher the productivity levels.

What to do about it: Managers can give workers the choice to pursue a project that they are passionate about. Not only will they know what they are going to do, but also have a stake in what the final results of their work will look like. Once the goals are achieved, the manager can take time to creatively celebrate the acomplishments and reflect on their employees’ hard work and dedication toward their jobs.

Reason #4 Employees lack the skills needed for the job

The problem here is one of human resources. A new recruit who graduated with a degree in marketing may not be able to deliver in the finance department. When your employees don’t know how it’s done, the most obvious solution is to train them.

Have your subordinates been given an on-the-job training to gain knowledge and develop essential skills to produce the desired output? Also, have the employees been equipped with appropriate tools, resources and support to complete their tasks?
What to do about it: Make sure that your HR get the right employees with the required skillset for a certain position.

Reason #5 Employees not willing to work

Your employee may simply lack the will to do the work that is assigned. There is no simple solution to this problem. One reason behind employees being unwilling to perform at their job could be rapid changes in the work environment.

Consider this – when a business transitions from a small organization to a more professional one, it requires changes in both leadership and employee accountability. Some workers may resist this accountability, thinking that it doesn’t apply to them due to their long time presence within the business.

What to do about it: The manager must make the effort to help employees in making the transition with the business. The workers will then be less disruptive to any changes and hopefully make positive contributions to the success of the organization.

Reason #6 The work environment does not support team effort

It is often the case that while managers don’t encourage individual work load, they don’t encourage team work either. When this happens, any efforts made by employees to form teams result in conflict.

Team work fails as the environment becomes one based on blame. Working together becomes difficult as team members focus more on losses and deciding who is at fault. This also creates an environment of stress.

What to do about it: Managers, at first, must decide on how to respond to the stress created by the lack of team work. A liaison may be appointed to facilitate messages and resources between workers and the manager to ensure the workers feel supported and are able to cooperate amongst themselves.

Reason #7 Your directives don’t line up with their level of capability

You have to clearly gauge the competency levels of your employees before assigning work. If an employee feels that their level of competency is far above that which is required of them, they either think that they are underestimated as subordinates, or that their managers are not up to the mark.

Such beliefs on behalf of your employees are lethal for a productive work environment as skilled workers may lose the motivation to perform well, or they may lose the will to work efficiently.

What to do about it: As a manager, you must always match your directives with how efficient, capable and experienced your employee is.

When employee performances are not up to the mark, a manager may find some solace in the fact that the answer to this problem lies in their own leadership skills.

To create and maintain an environment which inspires better productivity and creativity, strengthen work relationships with your subordinates as it is essential for managers to recognize and respect the differences in work approaches.

Once you create a collaborative environment to work in, your employees’ motivation levels will stay at the optimum without much effort.


The performance of employees and the business as a whole can be significantly improved if managers learn and practice a few simple skills, including how to set clear expectations and motivate employees.  Entrepreneurs starting their own business and first time managers who are not experienced in motivating employees may stand to benefit the most by giving extra attention to carefully using these techniques.

Motivated employees will certainly work more efficiently. But more importantly they will work at a higher level. They will be better team members, work more cooperatively, be more creative, and be more dedicated and committed to the organization.

Taking the time to motivate employees is a critical key to success in business for entrepreneurs and managers. Give it the time it deserves.

Start Streaming the Courses on BusinessTown

Learn how to start and run your business by watching the many courses on BusinessTown including Start-a-Business 101, How to Create a Business Plan, How to Find a Business Idea, The Complete Guide to Digital Marketing and over 130 other courses. You can try BusinessTown for free.

About Bob Adams

Bob Adams is a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. He has started over a dozen businesses including one that he launched with $1500 and sold for $40 million. He has written 17 books and created 52 online courses for entrepreneurs. Bob also founded BusinessTown, the go-to learning platform for starting and running a business.


Start-a-Business 101

Learn how to start your own business.

Start-a-Business 101 is a complete program for starting your own business.

  Find a great business idea. You’ll get my 6-step method for finding a great business idea. Plus you’ll get my insight on hundreds of proven, money-making businesses that you can start.

 Turn your idea into a profitable business. I’ll take you through every step of starting a business from finding your idea, to turning it into a solid business model, to making your first sales.

 Attract customers without spending a lot of money. You’ll get a ton of my free and low cost ways to land customers. From simple “guerilla” marketing tactics to the latest in digital marketing, I will show you every way imaginable to pull in customers on a shoestring budget. 

 Start small and grow as fast as you want. I’ll show you how you can start small, even part-time if you prefer, and build a highly successful business. You don’t need a lot of time or resources – but you do need to make the right decisions on key issues – and I’ll show you how to do it.

 Get proven strategies and insider advice. You’ll get the exact same methods I used to build one business after the next. I’ll tell you how to avoid problems. And I’ll show what to do at each step of the way, to start your business right.

 Try it risk-free for 60 days. You can try the whole course and then decide if it’s right for you. If you don’t love it, I’ll give you a 100% refund.

 You so inspired me that I started a business and have started receiving orders. Your videos about how to pick a business to start really got me going after I followed your steps to a tee. Thanks so much!

Bill Bennett – Business Owner

Start a business you love, earn more money and live the life you want. With Start-a-Business 101 you can…

Be your own boss. Enjoy true independence and be the star of your own show. Work when and where you want.

Start a business you love. You’ve got one life to live – so why not start the business of your dreams? I’ll show you exactly how to do it.

Make more money. Use my proven strategies to earn the highest profits possible and make a lot more money than you could at a 9-to-5 job.

Start-a-Business 101 is perfect for you…

If you don’t have an idea yet.

Start-a-Business 101 includes the proven 6-step method for finding a great idea. Plus you’ll get hundreds of proven, money-making ideas.

If you have an idea but are not sure where to start or what to do.

In Start-a-Business 101, you will learn exactly how to start your own business from start to finish. You will have access to dozens of videos, worksheets and templates that will walk you along the way.

If you want to make sure that you are doing things right.

Start-a-business 101 covers all the common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when getting started. No room for errors, you will learn how to start your business right.

If you want to get guidance and know exactly what to do at any given time.

Follow my step-by-step process that will get you on your way to business success. It will be like having a business coach by your side at all times.

If you want to start any size business or any type of business.

Start-a-Business 101 will help you start any size of business from a one person home-based business to a larger business. And it will work for any type of business including all service businesses, product businesses and Internet businesses.

If you want to become a knowledgeable entrepreneur.

By watching just one video lesson a day, you will quickly become a knowledgeable entrepreneur. You will be ready to start your own business now or at any time in the future.

Hi there, I’m Bob Adams.

I’m a serial entrepreneur and self-made multimillionaire.

I’ve started dozens of successful businesses of all types and sizes including … bike rentals, house painting, employment service, retail business, multimedia company, book publishing, tourist maps, job fairs, Internet businesses, software business, employment advertiser, and used boat sales. 

Most of these businesses I started in my home on a very small budget. 

My biggest success is my book publishing company that I started in my basement apartment with just $1500 and later sold for $40 million. 

I’ve learned what really matters in business. I’ve discovered the concepts that make or break businesses. And I’ve used them to build one successful company after the next. 

Now, my mission is to share what I learned with you – so that you can succeed in your own business. 

That’s why I created Start-a-Business 101.

Success = recipe + ingredients

In Start-a-Business 101, you will get my exact recipe and ingredients for success. I will show you what to do at every step in starting a business. 

You’re not going to go through years of trial and error. 

You won’t have to make mistakes or learn anything the hard way. 

Because the recipe for business success is waiting for you in my course, Start-a-Business 101

In this course you will get the same proven strategies and tactics that I used to create my successful businesses.

My books and courses have been featured in…

Start-a-Business 101 will show you exactly what to do at each step of starting your business.

You will get proven strategies, real-life examples, ready-to-go templates, checklists and worksheets to help guide you along and save you time. 

You won’t have to guess what you should do next or if you are doing things right.

 You will be following the best advice available today. 

You will be getting the same techniques and strategies that I used to build one successful business after the next including the one I started with $1,500 and sold for $40 million. 

You will put your startup on the fastest and most proven path to success.

Here’s the course for your new business journey. Beginning entrepreneurs will hugely benefit from Start-a-Business 101. The videos clearly explain each element of building a new business. The advice is savvy and on point throughout. I highly recommend it for anyone involved in any kind of startup.

Rick Williams – Managing Director, Williams Advisory Partners LLC

Learn at your own pace and on any device

All devices

You can access Start-a-Business 101 on all your devices, including your computer, your tablet and your smartphone.

Instant access

Get instant access to the entire course, including all the video lessons, all the tools and the discussion board.

Learn at your own pace

Watch just one video lesson per day and you will complete the whole program in about 10 weeks. Or you could even binge watch the entire course in one weekend. It’s up to you!

Full lifetime access

You can access the entire course as long as you want and as many times as you want. For example, you could go through the entire course to quickly build your entrepreneurial knowledge. Then you could go back to specific lessons as you are working on various aspects of your business.

Watch the overview video

 I found great value in the BusinessTown courses. The program is comprehensive, covering everything…It’s like having a team of experienced advisors available 24 x 7.

Dan Sterling –  Founder, Water Hero

Start-a-Business 101 gives you everything you need to start your business.

Rock-solid advice

You will learn my proven strategies and tactics for starting your own successful business.

Easy to follow videos

You will be guided step by step through the whole process by 76 short and easy to follow videos. 

 Business tools

You’ll also get 46 downloadable templates, worksheets and samples to guide you along.

  Start-a-Business 101 Course Content

1.  How to get started with your business

2.  Discover hundreds of great business ideas

3.  How to choose the best business idea for you

4.  How to validate your business idea

5.  Find the perfect name for your business

6.  How to choose the best legal entity for your business

7.  How to create a powerful competitive advantage

8.  How to create your business plan

9.  How to do your accounting and financial statements

10.  How to get the money you need to start your business

11.  How to create your marketing and attract customers

12.  How to build your online marketing presence

13.  How to make sales and land your first customers

14.  The Small Business Toolkit

15.  The Discussion Board

Every step of the course is filled with videos and companion tools to show you exactly how to start your business.

Start-a-Business 101 includes 46 templates, worksheets, checklists and samples

These tools will save you a lot of time, keep you organized and further guide you along the way to launching a successful business as soon as possible.

Fill-in the blank templates make it easy to plan your business.

Watch sample videos

Looking for a business idea? Discover the critical questions that you must ask to find the very best idea for you.

Learn how to create a one page business plan – the most important document for starting your business.

Learn how to find the best customers for your business.

Discover how to create a unique sales message for your business.

   Having run across your videos was a godsend to me. Your method provides me the structure I need to be successful. I am willing to put in the work to go through your complete course which so far has been incredibly helpful.

Phyllis Marks – Starting an Online Business

Will Start-a-Business 101 work for me?

This course is made for you:

  • If you want to generate a new income stream.
  • If you don’t have a business idea yet but want to be your own boss.
  • If you have an idea but are not sure how to get started or what to do first.
  • If you are ready to get started but want to make sure you are doing things right.
  • If you want guidance from someone who has done it before – multiple times.

Start-a-Business 101 will work for all types of businesses. And it will work for all sizes of businesses from one-person home-based businesses to larger enterprises.

Don’t have an idea yet? No problem. I will give you my 6-step process for quickly finding a great business idea. Plus I’ll show you hundreds of my best, money making business ideas, along with my insight on each one.

Wondering how to turn your idea into a profitable business? I will show you how to do it – every single step of the way.

You will learn how to plan your business, how to get the money to get started, how to do marketing, how to do accounting, how to make sales, how to set up your website and much more. You will have access to all my tools – including worksheets, case studies, checklists and templates – that will save you time and money.

I can promise you that you will get the very best strategies and ideas available today. You will get the exact techniques that I used to build my businesses, including the one I sold for $40 million.

Still skeptical? I get it. Sometimes you have to see it to believe it.

I got you covered. You can take this whole course completely risk-free.

You can test drive the entire course for 60 days.

That’s right. You can have full access to the whole course for 60 days. If you decide it’s not for you, or if you don’t love it, I’ll give you a 100% refund. No questions asked.

I can’t promise you that your business will absolutely succeed. No one can.

But I can promise you that I will give you the very best strategies and ideas for every step of starting your business.

And I stand behind that with my 60-day, 100% money-back guarantee.

I want you to start a business. And I want you to start it right.

 I have researched the marketplace for over a month to identify a viable and comprehensive ‘go-to’ guide on how to best launch a small business. This course offering from Bob Adams met more than what I was looking for.

Steve Cox – Experienced Businessman

Get Start-a-Business 101 and get $750 in bonuses – free

I am pleased to tell you that I am adding two limited time bonuses to Start-a-Business 101

These bonuses will make it even easier and quicker to get your own business up and running. 

The Ultimate Checklist to Starting Your Own Business 

This 18 page checklist will show you exactly what to do to start your business.

This extremely comprehensive 18 page document includes all the steps to start a business. Plus I give you my expert advice on every single step. 

This checklist will keep you totally organized and make sure that you are not missing anything important. 

This checklist is the ultimate shortcut in getting your business up and running. It will be your constant companion in starting your business. The checklist has a $500 value but I will give it to you as one of my welcome gifts for joining Start-a-Business 101.

How to Launch a Business Fast and on a Tight Budget Using MVP

Use this video to start your business fast and on a tiny budget.

The second bonus is a game-changing video/lesson. In this video/lesson I will teach you the concept of Minimum Viable Product, or MVP. 

You will learn how to start your business faster and for less money, than any other way possible. 

This important video/lesson has a $250 value but I will give it to you as one of my welcome gifts for joining Start-a-Business 101

So consider joining Start-a-Business 101 now if you want to get these limited-time free bonuses – a $750 value.

 Bob has been a close friend and trusted business adviser of mine for years… guiding me through the challenges we all face as entrepreneurs. Hands down Bob is one of the most talented, and successful entrepreneurs I know. Thanks Bob!

Matt Marshall – Founder, MGM Capital Investments

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?

This online course is completely self-paced – you decide when you start and when you finish.

How long do I have access to the course?

After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like – across any and all devices you own.

What if I am unhappy with the course?

If you are unsatisfied with the course for any reason, please contact us within 60 days and we will give you a full refund, no questions asked.

What are the course requirements?

This course is for anyone thinking about starting a business. You don’t need to have any previous business experience whatsoever. Even if you have business experience, you will discover a vast amount of powerful new ideas that will help propel your business ahead.

Can I download any of the content?

Of course! All the worksheets, case studies, samples, and templates are downloadable.

Start a business you love, earn more money and live the life you want.

Start-a-Business 101 is the fastest and easiest way to learn how to start a business and become a knowledgeable and successful entrepreneur.

Start-a-Business 101 is a complete proven program that will take you step-by-step through your entire startup journey.

You will get…

  Easy-to-follow videos

  Ready-to-use tools

  Discussion board

  Inside advice

  Proven strategies

  Complete lifetime access

In just a few minutes a day, you will learn how to start your own business.

You can test drive the entire course for 60 days.

That’s right. You can try Start-a-Business 101 risk-free for 60 days. You will have full access to the entire course. If you decide it’s not for you, or if you don’t love it, I’ll give you a 100% refund. No hassles. No questions asked. I want to help you succeed in your own business.


Start-a-Business 101

Learn how to start your own business.

Full Lifetime Access 

60-Day 100% Money-Back Guarantee

Only $19.95

Start-a-Business 101 is only open for a limited time.

Get on board now if you want to make sure you don’t miss out.

Questions? Email bbisson@businesstown.com