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3 Ways to Turn Underperforming Employees Into Super Stars

3 Ways to Turn Under Performing Employees Into Super Stars

Your business and your brand rely heavily on the performance of your employees. Your business is a team, and no team can work properly without the full effort of everyone on the field. Just like a football team suffers when their quarterback or running back is injured and unable to perform his job to the best of his abilities, sometimes you come across an employee who is no longer performing his or her duties at 100 percent. Many business owners immediately assume it’s time to reevaluate that employee’s position with the company, but this is a mistake. Unless this employee has been flailing for a while, harming the business, or being insubordinate for some time, it’s not time to fire anyone. It’s time to see what you can do to help motivate your employee.

Giving up right away or assuming your employee is no longer doing his or her job well enough to stick around is not the right choice. People have bad days, people make mistakes, and life happens. Before you decide it’s time to move on, see what you can do to help. A good employee is only as good as his worst superior, so take the high road to help motivate an under-performing employee. Sometimes it takes a little mentoring to turn your least productive employee into a superstar.

Understand the Situation

Before you do anything, schedule a meeting to discuss your employee’s situation. You must know if there is something going on in his or her life that’s affecting their work so you can come up with a plan to help motivate them and make them more productive. You might assume your employee is simply failing to perform to your standard of expectation when that person is dealing with a terminally ill parent, child, or spouse. Perhaps your employee’s spouse lost his or her job, their child is struggling, or there are some health issues.

Knowing what you and your employee are working with is helpful. When you know if there is something going on outside work affecting your employee, you might be able to help them at work by helping them outside work. Perhaps you know a good therapist who can help with the stress your employee is dealing with, you might know of a doctor they should see, or you know of a company hiring. Sometimes it’s all it takes to turn your employee into a super star to ask what’s going on and see how you can help.

In other situations, it’s a different story. Your employee might be behind on work and rushing to get through things, which means they’re not doing their best. Perhaps they are overwhelmed, confused about something, or they’re struggling. Whatever it is, you should understand where they are coming from.

Create Goals

Now that you know where you stand with your employee and his or her situation, it’s time to take them to the next level. Sit down and discuss some goals. Let them know you value their loyalty and their work, but you’ve noticed it’s been suffering. Ask them what they see for their future, where they want to be at work, and where they feel they need help. Let them know it’s all right to ask for help, and it’s all right to admit to you when they’re overwhelmed. You are, after all, a person who struggles sometimes with the same demons.

Now it’s time to make a list of goals. Let your employee tell you where he or she wants to be in one month, one week, or with a specific project. Does this mean taking an online class to learn more about a system he or she is not comfortable working with yet? Does it mean delegating smaller projects to others so they can focus on the things that aren’t getting their full attention? Create a big goal, and then break it down into smaller goals. Now your employee feels that you are a team working together, and you’ll be amazed just how quickly their performance improves.

Provide Mentors and Self-Evaluation

Sometimes you realize you’re dealing with an employee who simply doesn’t realize he or she is not performing to task. This is where adding some self-evaluation to the company comes in handy. It also helps to provide a mentor to each employee. This is a person who works with your employees to help them grow, to lead them by example, and to help them when it’s needed.

Self-evaluation is something you might add to the calendar once per month. Perhaps this is an email or a form you send out to everyone to have them fill out before a meeting so you can discuss growth while you’re all together. Ask your employees how they feel they are doing this month, what they feel they are struggling with the most, where they feel their strengths lie, where they feel their weaknesses lie, and get together to discuss it as a group.

When one employee realizes another employee is strong where they are weak, they can work together to help one another succeed. Self-evaluation and a mentor program at work can provide your under-performing employees a chance to succeed without making them feel stupid, inept, or as though their job is in jeopardy.

Most under-achieving employees will show some growth when they know you are on their side working for them. There are always people in the world who are simply lazy, uncaring, and not interested in personal growth. If it becomes obvious this is a person you’re dealing with, perhaps you might consider letting them go if nothing does the trick. Otherwise, this is a foolproof method to help encourage your employees to up their game and make positive changes in their work life. This is the kind of employer behavior that shows your employees you are a team, and it promotes loyalty.