6 Tips To Resolve Employee Performance Issues Tactfully With Online Training

6 Tips To Resolve Employee Performance Issues Tactfully With Online Training
Summary: There’s no easy way to address underperformance at work. With the right design and context, online training can help. In this article, I share 6 tips to tactfully resolve employee performance issues with online training.

How To Tactfully Resolve Employee Performance Issues With Online Training

The misinformed believe that employee performance issues come down to lack of skills training. There is a huge issue underlying poor employee performance, though. Managers are doomed to fail if they direct their team members to complete online training without the proper context. Especially those who are asking employees to repeat previous online training courses. So, how do we help our managers use online training resources effectively? We must show them how to address the issue from a person-centered approach, starting with the employee’s training needs. Analysis, questioning, and performance management support are all techniques we can equip our managers with to resolve employee performance issues.

Performance Management: A Person-Centered Approach

Let’s get this straight: employee performance issues don’t necessarily mean an employee doesn’t know how to do her or his job, so needs re-training. There can be a multitude of home-based or workplace issues that can impact employee performance. Make sure your managers know the basics on how to handle a holistic performance management discussion. Employee performance discussions should center on addressing the following:

a. Stress At Home Or Work

Offer employees resources, such as counseling or occupational healthcare, to support them in dealing with difficult emotions. Even something as seemingly simple as online support tools can help them minimize on-the-job stress.

b. Difficult Relationships

There are often complex powers at play in the workplace between personalities. Take the time to understand and mentor employees to deal with people that are creating a negative environment.

c. Lack Of Resources

Under-funded corporate eLearning projects can be a contributing factor in poor employee performance. Take the time to properly assess and track budgets throughout an online training course. You may even be able to curate online training content or incorporate MOOCs into your online training strategy to reduce costs.

d. Regular Employee Performance Reviews

Performance issues should not be discovered at the end-of-year review. Often, by then, issues are embedded and it’s too late to address them. Discuss online training objectives, employee performance, and personal development on a monthly basis throughout the year.

e. Career Development Planning

Make sure you have proper career development plans in place for employees. Lack of direction or progress can be the cause of stagnation in their current role, which can lead to employee performance issues.

How To Handle Employee Performance Issues The Right Way

When placed in context, online training can be a powerful tool in addressing employee performance issues. The online training might be based around technical skills, or it might be behavioral. Such as health & safety, or workplace etiquette. Whatever the subject matter, there are several elements to be aware of when employing online training to address employee performance issues:

1. Training Needs Analysis

A deep dive into knowledge and skills gaps is the only way to correctly gauge the necessary online training content. Start here to assess whether the online training is being pitched at the right level and make appropriate adjustments. When designing online training to address skill gaps, ensure you are first aware of the employee’s existing awareness and experience.

2. Engaging Format And Interactive Elements

Online training must be an immersive experience to help employees resist the distractions of the rest of the world. Choose videos, games, visuals and graphics carefully to ensure your employees gain the most from the online training experience. This also helps them identify personal areas for improvement on their own, thanks to mistake-driven learning.

3. Simulate Real-World Scenarios

Real-world branching scenarios and simulations allow employees to test their knowledge in a safe space that feels realistic. For learning to be adopted it needs to be applied in practice. An online training simulation allows for failure to happen in a way that doesn’t have negative impact and helps solidify the online training.

4. Social Learning

The employee could be feeling isolated, which could be causing performance issues. Use social media platforms to connect them with their colleagues in finding further online training resources or asking for help. They’re also able to interact and exchange information with remote peers who have more experience in the field. For example, those who have encountered similar performance issues and can share how they resolved the problem.

5. eLearning Feedback

Give staff members the power to suggest improvements to online training materials. Recognizing their input will help motivate them and will further engage them with the topic. They can also reveal gaps in your online training strategy that may be causing employee performance issues. For example, online training courses that cause cognitive overload instead of helping employees disclose crucial skill gaps.

6. Celebrate Success

Use progress tracking and personalized course maps to monitor completion of online training assessments and tests. Allow employees to track where they are in terms of goal achievement and provide them with a sense of accomplishment. You can also use gamification to offer incentives and recognize their efforts. It’s not just about pointing out personal pain points but acknowledging how far they’ve come. As well as the effort they’ve made to improve their workplace proficiency and productivity.


When we direct our employees to complete or re-do online training, we fail to address the root cause of employee performance issues. Did they really lack the right skills to do the job? Or perhaps, they were working long hours but still falling behind? None of us works in isolation. We all carry burdens with us from home, such as caring for family members, financial pressures or relationship problems. There are multiple difficulties in the workplace, such as challenging team dynamics, lack of recognition or failure to gain promotion. Any of these issues could be causing poor employee performance and should be addressed before launching any ameliorative online training. eLearning can and will enhance skills when it is carefully designed, and deployed effectively. Take the time to consider the whole person before making assumptions about the causes of employee performance issues.

If you are determined to solve potential employee performance issues with online training, you'll be intrigued to learn useful information about gamification, its applications, and impact on the reshaping of learning. Download our eBook Beyond Badges: How To Use A Gamification LMS To Retain Your Top Talent And Boost ROI to find the best system for your employee development strategy.