Employees can be a company’s greatest asset or the most significant liability depending upon their willingness to work and loyalty towards the company. Unfortunately, some employees do the bare minimum to get a stable paycheck but aren’t motivated to do more. All of this results in workplace underperformance, where the employee’s quality of work has decreased to a certain level.
The impact of underperforming employees will majorly impact the performance of your company. Therefore, it is essential to have people on your team who get work done effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, the manager’s primary responsibility is to create a positive working environment.
Underperformance is a problem that a company faces from time—to—time. Unfortunately, no two reasons are ever the same and, therefore, make it difficult for managers to provide solutions for the same. However, knowing the reasons for the same can help formulate solutions ahead of time so that productivity is not hindered. The common reasons why employees underperform are:
A hidden task that a manager is supposed to deal with is motivating underperforming employees. Here are 12 proven methods to effectively deal with employees that lack motivation and working below expectations:
The first step to solving a problem is recognising it. If you see an underworking employee, don’t wait for the opportune time to talk to them. If you do not address and treat the problem immediately, it will keep growing until the employee quits your company.
The most constructive method of addressing the problem is scheduling 1 on 1 meetings with employees whose performances are hit. You will get clarity on what is going on with the employees and how your company can help them. Furthermore, it will motivate the employees to see their company care for them.
Another powerful reason why employees underperform is when their expectations aren’t met. Of course, they will have certain expectations related to pay, career advancement, time flexibility, job security, and others. When they don't see their plan play out, they will lack the motivation to put in extra effort to achieve them.
A manager can pitch in help for such employees by first understanding their expectations from their job and the company. If they can be met realistically, then assure them of the same. If not, then it is necessary to make them understand why you can’t fulfill certain expectations and what other incentives can be offered to them.
Once you understand the reasons and issues with the employee underperforming, you can together formulate an action plan that works for both parties. You can set specific benchmarks that, once the employee meets, can make them eligible to ask for something in return.
Doing this will empower your employee to work towards fulfilling their goals and, in turn, meet a company objective. Additionally, you can offer reskilling/retraining opportunities depending on the reason for underperformance. Make sure that the action plan includes the following:
A single meeting with the underperforming employee will not solve the problem entirely. You must give time to the employee to improve and make the proposed changes. Therefore, it is better to schedule meetups with them and provide guidance and support wherever needed.
When you monitor the progress your employee is making, you will be providing resources and holding them accountable. These employees will appreciate you having their back as they improve.
When someone doesn’t work to the fullest of their capabilities, they require someone to push them on the journey. If you constantly bug your employee to improve without appreciating them, then you will be causing more harm to their morale than before. So instead, as their guide, appreciate and celebrate the little wins when you see progress.
This appreciation will make them more confident and happier in the workspace. In addition, you will eventually see your employees working harder and inspired by their progress so far. Therefore, take time to notice the efforts of all employees and appreciate them often.
To better your employees’ performance, you must often provide appropriate and constructive feedback. It will help them look back on the progress and make changes where needed before it's too late. Additionally, you can add the input of those who interact with the concerned employee.
A 360—degree feedback will help your employee gain an insight into how their performance impacts others and the company. Take the following things into consideration before providing feedback:
It is essential to document every decision you take concerning an employee in the workplace. In addition, these records come in handy when the issue is not resolved and the employee challenges the process. Notice and record every conversation that happens between you and the concerned employee.
You can also summarise each meeting with the employee and email the copy to them as proof. Record their responses and have a written record of their progress so far. Make sure to update the documents when changes are made.
Any employee who slacks off at work will significantly impact the team morale and the work environment. If you encourage such behavior at work, the other team members will become resentful, overburdened, and discouraged. Therefore, it is necessary to get work back on track in every possible manner.
Therefore, if the employee doesn’t show any improvement, even after multiple chances and opportunities, you need to consider other options, such as reassigning or terminating. You can either provide another position in your company or resort to the last option, letting the employee go.
The longest—lasting method you can use to motivate the underperforming employee is encouraging them to balance their work—life. If implemented since day one, you will prevent underperformance in the first place.
It is no surprise that workload can lead to fatigue and burnout. This, in turn, lowers performance levels. Inspire your employees to take time off work and rejuvenate themselves to keep the motivation to work up and running.
Dealing with and motivating an underperforming employee can be a time—consuming process for managers. But most employees tend to perform better when someone reassures them. As a result, they will, without hesitation, embrace a collaborative method that ensures them a better work environment. By implementing the simple techniques discussed, you will be turning an underperforming employee into a productive team member in no time.
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