Talent Management Challenges

Roadblocks to Recognizing Low Performance

Talent management is crucial for business success. You want to incent your top performers and support, or possibly let go of, low performers. But, first you have to know which is which, and certain talent management challenges can get in the way of doing so.

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HR professionals often struggle to get managers to identify when employees need extra support or to be let go. Managers may not be making the best decisions for the organization.

What Gets in the Way

There are common blind spots when managers evaluate high versus low performance. These talent management challenges fall mostly into the following categories.

Tenure or Longevity

One thing I hear about a lot from PayScale customers is tenure or longevity. Managers and HR professionals often think, “Well, we have to put up with this person because they have been here forever.”

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There are a business reason that organizations do so. The organization or manager may be fearful of the information would leave with that employee or how well connected that person is in the industry. Or, the organization’s leadership may feel that it owes that person something because of their tenure.

While those are certainly considerations, and you could even say that they are important, it is essential to focus on the value that person adds to the organization. Tenure or longevity on it’s own merit is not likely a good reason to keep somebody around.


Sometimes an employee’s personality causes confusion. The person may have a personality that their manager likes a lot.

We, here at PayScale, hear this reasoning a lot when doing compensation work with our customers. An HR professional has somebody who, for example, is the office manager or office assistant and is in a role where they know everybody, know everybody’s stories and are kind of the center of the company. They may not be efficient at their job but they are well-liked by everyone. And, that sometimes gets in the way of really being able to evaluate that individual’s performance.

Lack of Management Skills

Finally, sometimes there is just a lack of management skills among the managers. They are not good at identifying performance issues. I think it’s a matter of training them to do better. You need to teach your managers how to know the difference between issues that can be resolved and those that can’t be resolved. Managers should be able to identify performance problems and know what can be done to correct them.


Stacey Carroll, SPHR

Director of Professional Services and Education


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