Less than half of employees are achieving optimal performance – survey

Only 41% of employees are currently performing optimally – consistently giving their best work in a way they are confident they can sustain over the next year – according to a survey by Gartner.

Post-pandemic, work has become ‘unbounded’, with fewer constraints on when, where and how it must be done. This is especially true for remote-capable employees, who do not need to be in a specific location or interact with others in person to do their work.

While a March 2023 survey of 139 HR leaders found that 96% reported they met or exceeded their 2022 employee performance targets, only 58% are confident that they can meet or exceed their 2023 performance goals. Kayla Velnoskey, senior research principal in the Gartner HR practice, said: “Only 29% of HR leaders feel confident that their organisation’s current processes are effective at helping employees achieve and sustain their best possible performance. HR leaders are concerned that employees are not giving their best work, are struggling to sustain their efforts, or both, leaving them worried for their organisation’s future performance.”

A February 2023 Gartner survey of 2,280 remote-capable employees revealed that 24% of employees are consistently giving their best work, but they are not confident they can sustain it over the next year. Another 14% of employees are confident they could sustain their performance, but they are not consistently giving their best work. The remaining 21% of employees who are not performing optimally are not consistently giving their best work, and they are not confident they can sustain it over the next year.

Employees who are not performing optimally contribute up to 25% less value to the organisation and are 14% less likely to stay with their employer.

“HR’s typical approach to employee performance today supports what we call ‘employee agency’, which enables individuals and teams to take ownership over their performance,” added Velnoskey. “However, supporting employee agency alone fails to address three burdens on performance: excessive ‘work to do work,’ fatigue, and feelings of futility. Many HR leaders are facing pressure to bring back constraints of the past as organisations fear this is the only other approach to address these burdens.”

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