When you have an employee or multiple employees struggling at work, it creates problems. Even more frustrating is when you do not know why the employee is underperforming. When team members fail to produce quality work, they stress you, the employee, and the other team members. The welcome news is that you can help your employee improve their work performance while strengthening your relationship with the individual.
Recognize the Problem
A solution for helping a struggling employee is impossible until you find the root cause of their problem. The initial step is to identify the problem. Is your team member working fewer hours? Are they staring into space all day, or has their critical thinking and ambition diminished? The next step involves asking why? Perhaps something has changed in the worker’s personal life that is causing problems. Maybe it is disappointment over a possible promotion. Once you realize the source, you can begin to construct possible solutions that will work long-term.
Open Lines of Communication
Start a dialogue with the employee. Yes, it will most likely be an unpleasant conversation. However, it is critical for the individual’s success, and you can frame the discussion around that fact. Tell your team member you are not trying to get into their personal life, but you need to know what is happening due to poor work quality. There is a chance that the employee is not aware that the quality of their work is declining, and this can be a great time to offer candid feedback to help the employee improve.
Hopefully, if the employee is aware, they will be open about their situation, allowing you to grasp the problem. If your employee is not honest, explain that you cannot help them without knowing the problem. With no context, all you can do is note that the employee’s work performance is suffering.
Take the time to listen to the employee genuinely. Do not judge, think or respond immediately. Just listen and empathize with the employee. Please understand that the reason for an employee’s lack of effort is probably not laziness. It could be something much more profound.
Is the Problem Inside or Outside of the Company?
The answer to this question will decide how you will proceed in helping your employee. If the problem is internal, be creative, honest, and willing to work through the employee’s situation. When the problem is something outside of the office, your approach will be different. No, you cannot fix the employee’s relationship problems, but you can support them when they are at work. You can help take the employee’s mind off the issue, create a positive work environment, and make the employee feel like they can do their best work.
Create a culture of openness and confront issues before they fester and grow worse. The result will be higher output, higher happiness levels, and a longer and more productive between you and your struggling employees. Contact SI Staffing for high-quality employees who are ready when you need them.