Knowing Not What One Does: Implications for Low Performers
Implications for PracticeThe following tips should help bring low performers’ assessments closer to reality, which is important for them to be able to regulate their actions and continue to improve their performance.
- Improve selection procedures. Improving on the organization’s hiring and selection system better places the best skilled or most knowledgeable applicants into matching job openings, as well as identifies those employees who are most likely to benefit from training if it is needed (i.e., have the requisite ability to profit from learning experiences).
- Frequent and productive performance appraisal. While some organizations have yearly performance appraisals, it can be beneficial for all employees (especially low performers) to have substantive appraisals more often. Low performers need to understand as soon as possible where they are underperforming and what actions can be taken to correct the problem.
- Increase/Improve training and development. Some low performers may not have learned the knowledge and skills required for success. While it is an important element to employee training and development, feedback alone does not increase employee learning. Acquiring knowledge and increasing skills are also important aspects of training and development. Rehearsing and repeating information, combined with elaborating on how pieces of information tie together, encourages in-depth thinking about information which leads to a deeper understanding of material.
- Comparative frames of reference. Providing clear examples of what constitutes poor, average, and excellent performance can help employees judge the quality of their own performance relative to a standard.
- Encourage positive thinking. Hearing bad news is hard for many people to take, especially if they feel there is little hope for improvement. When training underperforming employees, it is important to emphasize that their knowledge and skills can be improved.
DeGarmo GroupThis was a summary of the research and practice implications from: Ehrlinger, J., Johnson, K., Banner, M., Dunning, D., & Kruger, J. (2008). Why the unskilled are unaware: Further explorations of (absent) self-insight among the incompetent. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 105, 98-121.