How To Unlock Employee Skills and Mitigate Workplace Challenges

In the ever-evolving world of business, the skills and abilities of employees play a pivotal role in driving success. However, there are instances where an employee's skills may not align perfectly with their current role, leading to challenges for both the individual and the organisation. In this article, we will explore the complexities surrounding employee skills and delve into strategies for effectively managing and leveraging talent within a company. From understanding the concept of underperformance to embracing talent mobility, we will provide actionable insights to help you navigate these challenges and unlock the full potential of your workforce.

Understanding Underperformance and its Causes

Before we delve into the intricacies of managing employee skills, it is crucial to grasp the concept of underperformance and its underlying causes. Underperformance occurs when an employee's quality of work falls below the expected level. This can manifest in various ways, including failure to meet standards, negative conduct, or non-compliance with rules and procedures.

There are several factors that can contribute to underperformance, such as:

  1. Lack of Skills: Sometimes, employees may find themselves in roles for which they are not adequately equipped. This could be due to a mismatch between their abilities and the job requirements, or a lack of confidence in their technical skills or time management abilities.
  2. Vague Expectations: Unclear job standards and organizational goals can leave employees uncertain about what is expected of them, leading to confusion and underperformance.
  3. Job Dissatisfaction: When employees are disappointed with their role or the work environment, their motivation and effort may decline, resulting in subpar performance.
  4. Cultural Misfit: Some employees may struggle to connect with the company culture or team dynamics, hindering their ability to perform at their best.

The Impact of Poor Work Skills

Underperformance can have far-reaching consequences for both the individual and the organisation. Let's explore the detrimental effects of poor work skills:

  1. Decreased Productivity: When an employee's performance falls below par, their output may not meet the requirements of their role. This can lead to delays, incomplete work, and increased workload for other team members.
  2. Diminished Quality of Work: Employees who underperform often produce work that is of subpar quality. This can negatively impact the company's reputation, leading to a poor perception among customers and stakeholders.
  3. Declined Morale and Collaboration: A single underperforming employee can disrupt team dynamics and create resentment among colleagues. This can erode morale and hinder collaboration, ultimately affecting overall team performance.

It is evident that addressing underperformance and effectively managing employee skills is essential for maintaining a productive and harmonious work environment.

Embracing Talent Mobility: Shifting Skills Within the Company

Recognising the potential in your employees and actively seeking ways to leverage their skills is a key aspect of talent management. Talent mobility, the practice of shifting employees to different roles within the company, can be a strategic solution to address skill mismatches and underperformance. By effectively navigating talent mobility, organisations can retain valuable employees, enhance productivity, and foster a culture of continuous learning and development.

Strategies for Employee Transition within the Company

When an employee's skills are not well-suited to their current role, transitioning them to a different department or position can be a viable solution. Here are some strategies to facilitate a successful internal career transition:

  1. Network within the Organisation: Encourage employees to build relationships with colleagues from different departments. This provides an opportunity to explore different workplace cultures and identify roles that align better with their skills.
  2. Focus on Building Relationships: As employees transition to new roles, it is crucial for them to actively build relationships with their new colleagues and stakeholders. This includes understanding their expectations and definitions of success.
  3. Seek Regular Feedback: Regular feedback is essential during the transition process. It allows employees to assess their performance in the new role and make necessary adjustments. Encourage an open and honest feedback culture that promotes growth and development.
  4. Embrace a Learning Mindset: During the initial stages of the transition, it is important for employees to listen, learn, and ask questions. This demonstrates a willingness to adapt to the new role and gain a deeper understanding of its requirements.
  5. Provide Support and Training: Ensure that employees receive the necessary support and training as they transition to their new role. This may include providing access to relevant resources, mentorship programs, and opportunities for professional development.

By implementing these strategies, organisations can effectively manage internal career transitions and optimise employee skills within the company.

Leveraging Outplacement for Smooth Career Transitions

Sometimes, a transition to a different company may be the best solution for an employee with mismatched skills. Outplacement, a process that supports employees in their career transition, can help preserve the relationship between the employee and the organisation. Here are some strategies to facilitate successful outplacement:

  1. Offer Career Transition Support: Provide employees with access to career transition services that offer tactical and emotional coaching. These services can support employees in their job search and manage their expectations during the transition process.
  2. Maintain Open Communication: Even as an employee transitions out of the organisation, it is important to keep communication channels open. This allows for future networking opportunities and the preservation of valuable relationships.
  3. Promote Employee Wellness: Extend support beyond an employee's tenure with the company by promoting employee wellness initiatives. This can include providing resources for mental health, networking events, and alumni networks.
  4. Conduct Exit Interviews: Exit interviews provide an opportunity to gain insights into an employee's experiences and address any lingering concerns or feedback. By actively listening and valuing their input, organisations can maintain positive relationships and foster goodwill.

By embracing outplacement strategies, organisations can demonstrate their commitment to employee support and foster long-term relationships that may prove beneficial in the future.

The Power of Talent Mobility and Skill Development

The importance of actively managing employee skills cannot be overstated. By embracing talent mobility and providing opportunities for skill development, organisations can unlock the full potential of their workforce. Here are some additional strategies to consider:

  1. Encourage Continuous Learning: Create a culture of continuous learning by offering training programmes, workshops, and resources that enable employees to acquire new skills and stay relevant in the ever-changing business landscape.
  2. Foster a Growth Mindset: Nurture a growth mindset within the organisation, encouraging employees to embrace challenges, seek feedback, and view setbacks as opportunities for learning and improvement.
  3. Provide Clear Career Paths: Establish clear career paths and growth opportunities within the organisation. This not only motivates employees but also enables them to envision a future with the company and work towards their professional goals.
  4. Embrace Diversity and Inclusion: Recognise the value of diverse perspectives and actively promote diversity and inclusion within the organisation. By embracing a diverse workforce, organisations can tap into a wide range of skills and experiences, fostering innovation and creativity.


Managing employee skills and navigating talent challenges is an ongoing process that requires proactive strategies and a commitment to continuous improvement. By understanding the causes of underperformance, embracing talent mobility, and fostering a culture of skill development, organisations can effectively leverage the potential of their workforce. Remember, the key lies in recognising the unique talents and abilities of individuals and providing them with the support and opportunities they need to thrive. When employees are empowered to excel in roles that align with their skills, both the individual and the organisation reap the rewards of a harmonious and productive work environment.