How to Help a Low-Performing Employee

Dealing with a low-performing employee is one of the most difficult tasks a manager might face, but it’s something that most supervisors have to handle eventually. Using improper techniques can increase the employee’s frustration and cause more problems, so it’s important for managers to tread carefully.

One way to deal with difficult employees is to help them find their motivation, so they will want to work harder and improve their performance. Each individual has different needs, so a good manager will take a tailored approach. Here are some universal strategies for improving employee morale and performance.

Focus on job satisfaction

An unhappy person tends to be a poor worker, so the first thing to discuss with an under-performing employee is job satisfaction. Perhaps the employee feels overworked and undervalued, or maybe the schedule they have doesn’t work well. Some employees may feel frustrated if their work seems to be unimportant or a significant amount of time is taken up doing busy work. Whatever the problem is, understanding why the employee is unhappy is the first step toward solving it.

Offer solutions

Diagnosing the problem isn’t enough. It’s also important to offer clear, practical avenues to fix it. If it’s a matter of feeling overworked, flex time or different hours may be a solution if the office can accommodate it. If the employee simply does not have enough knowledge or skill to complete the tasks efficiently, additional training or mentorship can help.

Share success

Many low-performing employees feel like they’re merely a cog in the machine, so a bit of recognition can improve staff performance and get the entire office working more efficiently. Although performance incentives and bonuses are one popular way to keep employees motivated, it can be easier than that. Official recognition of good performance, occasional office celebrations to mark a milestone and verbal praise can go a long way.

Poor employee performance can drag down an entire office, but it can be surprisingly easy to fix. If supervisors and management take the time to identify and work with an employee; develop a plan to address issues and acknowledge the efforts being made, the low performing employee may very well turn into a valuable asset to the team.

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