6 Actionable Tips to Motivate Underperforming Employee

February 19, 2022

how to motivate an underperforming employee

Your employees are the backbone of your company and you need to ensure they are productive and engaged to deliver the best services.

However, there may be those employees who are less productive and might be underperforming at work. It really doesn’t mean they are not capable. Instead, they are less motivated or don’t find the right motivation to carry out their tasks. Lack of recognition might also be a reason that they are underperforming.

In this blog post, you’ll know all the effective ways how to motivate your underperforming employee and make them an asset to your company.

Action Plans for Non-Performing Employees

There are many ways to deal with underperforming employees, but not every method is effective and useful. So, our experts and HR executives came up with the most effective ways to motivate your employees to become the best in this business race.

1. Know Their Problems

Don’t assume that you know the reasons why your employee is underperforming or struggling. Take the time to understand the employee’s concerns. Maybe their workload is too heavy, or they may lack motivation or proper recognition. It’s also possible that your employee might be unsure about their job responsibilities or goals. 

They might also suffer from personal or family issues, or it can even be the current pandemic situation that may result in less productivity. So, in such a case, you need to build trust first, then inquire if anything is bothering them. In this way, you can let them share their thoughts, and you can provide them suggestions and motivations to make them feel better and more comfortable.

2. Recognize Their Efforts

If employees believe they aren’t in the correct role or don’t have enough resources or recognition for executing their work well, they might not be motivated to accomplish a task. 

So, as a team leader, you need to recognize even the slightest of efforts from your employees. This will motivate them to be more punctual and productive at work. 

Moreover, if you can’t solve a problem, share it with your employees or team members and take their suggestions. This action will make your employees feel valued, and they’ll be more comfortable and committed at work.

3. Be Straightforward and Empathetic

Employees may take offense or be upset when you give criticism or negative feedback. So, after throwing any negative reviews, you must always share specific examples or suggestions of how each project or task could have been handled. In this way, you’ll show them that you are concerned about their growth and development and want them to perform better. 

Furthermore, show that you care about your employee’s future by mentioning specific goals they’ve achieved and congratulating them on that achievement. This recognition will encourage your employees to be better and stay active. 

4. Carry Out Regular Follow-Ups and Meetings

Make a schedule to check the actions of your employees routinely. Recognize your employees openly if they made any improvements or carried a task with dedication. 

After the meeting is over, call out the low-performing employees and ask them what they have been facing or is there any mental disturbance they are facing. In this way, you’ll know the actual problem, and if necessary, you can also arrange some mind relaxing mental programs to help your employees get back on track.

Everyone struggles at some point in time. In such cases, emphasizing patience, empathy, and support can make your underperforming employees more dedicated and committed to your company. 

5. Ask Them Questions and Get Clarifications

Not all your employees will be open about their problems. However, even if they are open, you as a team leader should always ask questions about their problems so that you can understand the main reason for their underperformance. 

The better you understand the roots of their problems, the more you’ll be able to help them tackle their problems and reach an effective solution. 

Moreover, when you ask questions to clarify the state and health of your employees, they tend to feel more valued and cared for. This will not only motivate your employees to be more active but also become more productive, punctual, and committed. 

6. Allow Them Some Personal Time

Whether it be work stress or personal problems, either can result in your employees underperforming their tasks. It doesn’t mean they are less productive or don’t have the caliber to complete a task. Instead, they might require some personal time to get things back on track. 

There may be times when you need to give your employees some personal space to work things out. You can also permit them to take short leaves if necessary as this will allow your employees to figure things out and get back on form. 

If your employees want to share their thoughts make sure to arrange a meeting for them personally as this can help and encourage them to start performing.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can you train your underperforming employee? 

There are many ways you can train your underperforming employees. Here are some of the most effective ways of doing: 

  • Take helping actions as soon as you see an underperforming employee
  • Try to understand the roots of the underperformance
  • Meet the employee personally and know what issues they are facing.
  • Discuss with them about the long-term goals and assign them with different training sessions (if possible)

These may be some of the most effective training ways to get your employee back on track.

2. What to do when an employee is underperforming? 

There may be many reasons why an employee might be underperforming, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them back on track. Here are a few of the things that you can do to help them out of this issue: 

  • Give them some personal time
  • Motivate and encourage them
  • Make your expectations clear and tell them how much you rely on their efforts
  • Give them proper training and counseling
  • Give them small tasks to start with

Following these steps will definitely help your employees stand out and start performing again.

3. How to know if the workload is too much on your employees? 

Sometimes too much workload might be the reason your employees underperform. In such cases, you can always ask them if the workload is too much or not and whether they require some assistance or short recreational leaves. 

This will not only help your employees to value you but will also help them get back their productivity. So, if you see your employees get worn out due to excessive work stress, then short leaves might be an effective way to get them back on track. 

Bottom Line

Employees play a vital role in establishing and helping your business to grow and develop. However, if your employees are underperforming, it doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to perform well. Instead, they may be less motivated and require proper recognition and training to get back on track. 

The tips mentioned above are the best ways to motivate your underperforming employees and make them more productive and committed.

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