How To Motivate Underperforming Employees & Bring The Best Out Of Them

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Leaders are the assets who can bring the best out of their employees and make their company a great place to work. Here's what they can do to re-motivate underperforming employees.

It is no secret to know how the performance of an employee makes a significant difference in the growth of an organization. While a great team effort may reflect productivity and a possible way out of a deadlock, but it also conceals loopholes created due to inadequate individual performances. This is not to belittle the value of team effort, but individual performances are definitely a key when it comes to achieving crucial long-term goals.

The truth is, it does not always suffice for a company to incorporate hiring and firing policy when it is not going to address the issue of lack of motivation on the part of certain employees. It requires a more cogent and holistic approach to deal with such a situation.

If you have been entrusted with a responsibility of motivating and encouraging some of your underperforming employees, especially when they were doing a good job before, then you have to think creatively and sensitively.

Without completely writing such employees off, wouldn’t you like to make an effort to bring them back on track? The reasons could be many, so you need to look into the matter more pragmatically and find the root cause of the situation only to turn such employees into assets. Here are some tips to address this issue:

#1 Find Out The Root Cause & Address It Head On

If the concerned employee is ill-fit for the company or lacks necessary skills, then the plausible solution could be to put him through the training process. However, if the performance has gone from good to worse, then there might be some complex reasons behind. Since you cannot solve a problem that you are unaware of; you need to incorporate a direct approach. You need to determine whether they know their performance has degraded or whether there something else going on in their life.

Have you been giving your employees a regular actionable feedback? If the employee is grappling with a personal issue then advise them to strike a balance between personal and professional lives. Finally, you must be able to come with a plan that can be effectively utilized to correct the slide.

#2 Have A Candid & Meaningful Conversation

Without being hostile, you need to approach the matter with objectivity. Even if you are angry with the employee’s performance, your frustration shouldn’t cloud your judgment. So, it’s better to collect unbiased information related to the underperformance and start a candid conversation. You need to tell the employee about the honest observations that you have made, how their actions or lack thereof are affecting the team as well the organization. You need to tell them how a single individual can change the fortunes of a company. If you make them realize that you also know that there are indeed performance issues and that there are possible ways to overcome them; then there is no better act of eliciting improvement in them.

#4 Devise Performance Goals Together

It is extremely important to understand what makes your employees tick as it will also help you know what their aspirations and future plans are. You can value their goals and aspirations by conjoining them with the long-term goals of your organization. You should include them in the process of outlining individual performance targets. Ask them how they would like to improve and what new skills they want to learn to better their performance. This kind of engagement and involvement will definitely motivate employees, and as a result, they will work hard and give their 100%.

#4 Recognize & Reward Improvements

Rewarding good performance in the workplace is a key motivator. If you want your employees to perform as per your expectation, they also need your appreciation. This is particularly important when you are asking your disengaged or unfocused employees to perform, but alienating them instead of appreciating their efforts. This lack of recognition will hurt their morale, which might result in even more underperformance. Rather, you can uplift their morale and boost their confidence by inviting them for a treat. An evening dinner with a bottle of wine that has some motivating wine labels might do the trick for you in making them realize you appreciate them.

#5 Monitor & Follow-Up

Having a good conversation and rewarding their efforts, it is extremely important for you to follow up with your employees regularly. All of your own efforts of fixing things will bear no fruit unless you have an effective monitoring mechanism in place. This will inculcate a sense of due diligence in them and they will show an interest towards the work. You need to make it very clear to them how the company and the team depend upon their individual performance, which, in turn, has a positive impact on them.

It is true that no company needs bad performers, but sometimes a change of perception is also necessary to look into the matter of underperformance. Moreover, leaders are the assets who can bring the best out of their employees and make their company a great place to work.



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