Dealing with such a situation requires a great deal of empathy and understanding on part of the manager and the delicate issue needs to be dealt with utmost sincerity.
If an employee’s work falls below your expectations multiple times, you need to take action. Criticizing, forcing work on the employee or venting out your frustration might be the last option here.
What is needed is the right strategy for guidance and enhance determination levels from the employee. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can achieve this.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
The power of communication should never be estimated as it is very often the answer to most problems. If an employee is failing to reach goals, talk to them about the causes. You should be empathetic to the situation and make the employee feel safe to tell you the reasons. Personal problems can also be a reason for the lack of interest at work.
Whatever might be the reason, hear it out without judgment. Once you have heard the employee’s side of the story, you need to think about how you can do your best to help them enhance their goals and remove things which might not be of immediate concern. The goal here is to have a mutual discussion and come up with a list of goals that you both agree with. The communication should be transparent and fair, taking each party’s feedback into consideration.
2. Understand their strengths
You cannot teach a fish how to fly. In order to get the best out of any employee, you need to put them in a job where they have a natural ability or interest in. Build on the strengths rather than focusing too much on correcting their weakness.
Most employees stop doing well when they feel stuck, lost or unable to generate interest in the job requirements. See if there has been any major change in expectations that has caused the slump. In order to gauge what works best, you can try assigning different responsibilities to the employee and see what the employee excels at. Speak with the employee about the kind of things that ignite their passion or skill and work a way around it.
3. Set realistic goals
Goal management is an extremely crucial part of performance management. Without clear goals, employees will be left confused and directionless.
This need not be very hard. Even if managers can spend 15 minutes from time to time with their employees and focus on specific goals that need to be achieved by each one of them, it can go a long way. Setting specific and challenging goals consistently leads to higher performance. Just telling people to do their best can work till a limit. Goals need to be set higher so that the greatest level of performance is likely to be generated. Follow-ups and coaching to achieve these goals need to be present thoroughly through tight deadlines and constant improvement.
4. Appreciate them
Employees have a deep desire for recognition, with 93% hoping to be recognized at least once a quarter.
There have been several studies that have explored the link between appreciation and productivity. If a person is working hard, they want someone they look up to or admire to witness their journey. If people toil hard to achieve something, they would want to be noticed and applauded for their efforts. Without any notice or appreciation, motivation to work hard, more or less, will fade with time. People need to feel like they matter.
“When we think about labor, we usually think about motivation and payment as the same thing, but the reality is that we should probably add all kinds of things to it: meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, pride, etc.,”