How To Properly Handle Unproductive Employees

Unproductive employees are usually unmotivated ones. They might be bored with the same, old grind. They might be dissatisfied with their job situation, like their salary or unreachable targets. They might be harbouring resentment towards you or their colleagues. They might be facing personal problems…

By Gemma Reeves

Whatever the reason might be, it is part of your job to get to the bottom of the situation and lead your employees to perform at their best. This is especially applicable to individuals who you know can be rockstar employees – you’ve seen them perform and you know they can achieve awesome results. However, they seem to be lagging behind and struggling to get things done recently.

Don’t give up just yet and check out these steps on how to motivate your unproductive employee:

Match benefits with performance

No matter how much your subordinates respect you or enjoy what they are doing, bills and finances are realities that they have to face. It is not just about monetary gains, but good compensation can communicate to your employees that you respect their skills and efforts. Individuals who feel that they are not valued enough may begin to feel unmotivated and slack off from their tasks.

Other benefits that you can look into might be more flexible work arrangements, health insurance, profit sharing, free meals, paid time off, etc.

Remember that good employees will not have a hard time looking for other opportunities, so do your best not to lose them – either to another company or to substandard work performance.

Foster relationships

Working relationships with the boss or colleagues can make or break the deal- ensure that you are promoting a team culture that will help people thrive. An environment that promotes openness, teamwork, growth- where people feel excited and enjoy good camaraderie with one another- can help employees feel motivated and keep them productive.

Do activities where team members can socialise and get to know each other better- these can be as simple as weekly lunch-outs or snacks together, quarterly weekend barbeques or bowling nights. People who feel that they are part of a team strive to not let that team down.

Review job descriptions and objectives

Giving the employee additional responsibilities to make use of his skills and talents can instantly boost his motivation, as it gives him something new to look forward to. When you let individuals work at something that they are good at and passionate about, this will benefit the entire company.

Pay special attention to the more senior team members- maybe you can expand their role and give them some leadership functions.

Evaluate your employee’s targets and work objectives, as well. If these goals are unrealistic and out of reach, he might feel down and incapable of achieving good results- which will translate to low quality work output.

Provide opportunities to grow and learn

The good employees are the ones who do not want to remain stagnant- they want to continue learning and growing. When every day becomes routinary for them, they may become bored and restless- and results will suffer as a consequence.

It is crucial that you support that thirst for improvement by providing growth opportunities in your organisation. Remember that when your employees grow professionally and personally- they can also make better contributions towards your vision.

Talk to them

Regular interaction with your employee will help you get to know him and make him feel supported. This will also alert you whenever anything is amiss with his performance, attitude or motivation at work.

Do not just have a conversation with him whenever there is a problem. That will only make him feel defensive, or even resentful. Keep your door open so that your team members know that they can approach you anytime.

When you notice problems with your employee’s productivity, you can talk to him directly and get his explanation. Maintaining a good working relationship with him would help you gauge the validity of this reasons and give you a good idea of what to do next.

Throw out the bad apples

Unfortunately, there are some employees who are just simply natural slackers. However you try to help them, they cannot seem to snap out of it and get their act together. You’ve talked to them and they promised to change – but the expected results are just not coming in.

In this case, it might be a better option to let go of these kinds of employees, before they spread the negativity and bad vibes to the people around them.

It is not easy being a manager. Sometimes, you have to be firm and make difficult, unpopular decisions – just remember that it is for the benefit of your organisation.

An underperforming employee can be a frustrating situation for every boss, but when you manage it properly, it can turn out to be a win-win situation: your employee becomes better and happier, your company benefits from the boost in productivity, and you also learn new things as a boss or manager.