October 11, 2018

In a perfect world, all your workers would be superstars. But unfortunately, employers often have to deal with employees who put in the bare minimum, punch the clock and go home. They may not have always been this way—sometimes employees who were once great performers decrease their productivity for one reason or another. Since employee turnover is costly, the answer isn’t always to replace underperformers right away.


Four steps to motivate underperforming employees


In an effort to help your underperformers return to a productive workday, you can try the following:


  1. Don’t ignore the problem and hope it will improve on its own. It’s important to take swift action when you identify an employee’s lack of motivation. Underperformers are toxic to their coworkers—their lackluster attitude can rub off on others around them and harm staff morale. The faster you attempt to make amends, the faster you can help a slacking employee turn their attitude around.
  2. Assess the situation. If the person was once a good worker (and this is probably true because they wouldn’t have been hired otherwise!), think about what may have caused their shift in productivity. What has changed lately in the business—are they overwhelmed by their workload or do they not get along with a coworker? Many people react to stressful situations by pulling back, and this may be the case. Another thing to consider is the employee’s home life or health—has anything changed that may be spilling over into their job performance?
  3. Talk to the employee directly. Schedule time to meet with the underperforming worker 1:1. Never fingerpoint—simply say what you’ve observed and that you’re worried something is going on because the person has always been a good worker. Show your concern and compassion. This will go much further than accusations. Then, let the employee speak their mind. Based on what they say and how they act, you’ll get a feeling for how coachable they may be.
  4. Make a plan. Working together with the employee, come up with a plan for better performance. Set a timeline, if possible. Choose actions that are measurable in order to determine improvements.


Stick to your guns


Unproductive workers are a drain on your business, as well as their coworkers. If you’ve confronted an underperformer and set a plan, but they’re not making improvements, you may want to re-assess the relationship. Replacing the worker may be easier than continuing to deal with a bad attitude.


Find top talent


Sometimes underperformance may be related to a worker’s lack of skills. You can find highly qualified candidates quickly and easily by working with a staffing agency. To learn more, reach out to InterConnect! We work with businesses in the Tri-State Area to staff up with skilled light industrial and office/administrative employees.


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