Sometimes, the success of a business depends more on its people than its customers. Employees that are unfocused and underperform can kill a business but when managed right, these employees can become its greatest strength. Take care to manage employees well unless you want to risk damaging your company.
Experienced business managers know that how an employee behaves isn’t the sole responsibility of anyone. It’s a team effort that both the individual and the manager has to work on together. If the behavior of an employee is becoming a cause for concern, you should remember that this person was originally hired because their attitude and skills were right for the job. Don’t immediately write them off as good managers have to consider their own people management skills and find out how to help struggling employees find their lost focus at work.
1. Focus on communication.
Communication is never a one-way street. Give clear feedback and be open to listening to their point of view. Before you reprimand your employee due to a lack of effort, you should be ready to provide as much constructive feedback as possible. Speak to the concerned employee and communicate that there has been a change in performance and attitude and that their approach should be adjusted. Giving them a time frame for them to improve their approach is a good way to measure improvement. After providing this feedback, ask your employee if there’s a reason for the change in approach. It’s equally important that you listen to what your employee has to say regarding the performance decline.
2. Monitor and follow up.
Once its been made clear that improvements need to be made and that performance goals should be met, monitoring that employee and taking note of his or her efforts is key. A great manager always knows to follow up with employees. Monitor their progress and see if the employee has accomplished their task. If they have been tasked to complete it by a certain date, take note of their efforts as the date nears. Sometime, even if they don’t meet their goals, the effort the employee took to reach them is enough of an indicator to see if they’re worth keeping. Good leaders have to hold their employees accountable for their actions. This kind of structure is appreciated by most people and when they see their manager doing due diligence, he or she will be respected all the more for it. Showing genuine interest in an employees work is a great way to boost a company’s morale and culture.
3. Praise the slightest Improvement.
Recognition works wonders on any person’s morale. One sure way to further alienate and disengage your employees is to ask them to overhaul their attitude and improve their performance but forget to follow up or reward their progress once they do make the effort. According to the best-selling author Dale Carnegie “Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be hearty in your appreciation and lavish in your praise.”
This isn’t a one-time effort so continue to give them practical feedback and reward them with incentives like a bonus or additional responsibilities. Even a simple mention of “great job” or “thank you” will make a big difference.
4. Act on under-performance and know the right time to let someone go.
Though every manager hopes to spur an employee to improve their performance and rethink their business attitude, the reality is that some employees will continue to under-perform. No organization is exempted from this. When this happens, a manager has to formally address this, not only will the concerned employee know that the manager won’t tolerate this attitude, but so will his or her co-workers. Making your employees know that you’re serious about it is a great way to prevent others from losing their focus. Also, those who are already working hard might begin to slack off as well if they see that a co-worker hasn’t received repercussions for losing their focus.
As a last resort, a manager needs to know when to cut ties with an under-performing employee. Letting them stay on the team is risky as it could cause a ripple effect of low morale and their poor work attitudes could spread to the other employees.