Effective Ways to Motivate Underperformers

January 4, 20172:08 pm1286 views

There are many kinds of people within a company. Some are naturally-born genius, some are clumsy but diligent, some are trying their best but fail, while some others are just lazy. As a leader, it is important to know how to deal with different types of people and collaborate with them to achieve business goals. While every leader wants their employees to excel in the field, the existence of underperformers can be hardly ignored in every company.

HRs generally think that it will be a lot easier to cut off underperformers and replace their positions rather than investing time and energy to deal with them. However, firing is not always the best answer when it comes to employee retention. If you easily discharge people after once or twice low performances at work, it will not be good for employer branding.

Rather than that, motivating underperformers should become HRs challenging duties to improve their human capital. This piece will share some insights how you can effectively encourage incompetent people in the company.

See: How to Deal with Employee Complaints?

Check the background

Keep in mind that during the recruitment process, the underperformers must have performed certain qualities that make decide to hire them. If they do not, how did they get the job in the first place? There are cases where people achieve below expectation due to a mismatch between job roles and qualification.

No wonder that they demonstrate low performance because it is not their expertise. Thus, you need to re-check their background to ensure that they have been assigned to the right place. Observe performance appraisals to see how employees progress from time to time.

If the underperformance happens once in awhile, there must be something major that causes it. Besides the track record, you might need to ask co-workers to dig out more unwritten information about them that you might be missing.

Talk directly

You have studied the background and gained great information, now the next thing to do is inviting the employees to have a face-to-face discussion. Explain clearly what you have been observing, what you think about the performance, how the team was affected by it, and how can it be rectified or better managed.

To avoid any misunderstandings, do not jump to any hasty conclusions. Ask these employees the possible issues that lead to the poor performance and how they can make it better. Once the problem is diagnosed, state openly that you are willing to help employees to get through it. Motivate them by having an in-depth conversation to solve the issues and giving feedbacks about the matter on hand.

Make a plan

When you have recognised the problem, moving forward will be much easier. Discuss the plan and idea on how to develop employees’ performance. Point out which areas need improvements and how to fix them.

Give them some time to make a simple proposal and add some suggestions to it. Do not be too ambitious, make the plan as attainable as possible so they can start changing their pace.

Encourage action

Plans will forever be mere empty words if you do not act on it. To make improvements happen, encourage employees to take immediate action. A simple and small change will bring greater impact when efforts are constant.

If employees seem to lose spirit, let them know that you are there to support whenever they need help. Monitor their progress to see if there are significant growth gained from the plan.

Stick to the plan until goals and expectations are met within designated period. However, if you see that the plans do not work even after some time, you might need to change the strategy then.

Provide reward and recognition

When employees show that they are making an effort and seeking to improve further, the next step would be to make employees feel appreciated by providing rewards and recognitions. If you see something positive coming from employees, do not hold back to tell them so. Show them that you notice their improvement and give rewards accordingly.

Read also: Tips for HR to Manage Millennials