For all kinds of reasons your best employee’s can experience a performance slump at some point. As a manager, you may not always find an obvious way to get someone back on track, but the investment of energy you would need to turn this situation around is still so much less than what would be needed replace and train a new employee. These five approaches may help:
Ask if the employee is okay
And find out if there’s anything that you should know about instead of assuming you understand this individual’s current circumstances and reactions. Of course, it will help if you’re already aware of their personal situation.
Perhaps the employee is dealing with a new and challenging circumstance that’s distracting. In that case, it can help to share your evidence: “Stephen, I was wondering if everything’s okay. I noticed that you stopped/started doing X, and I figured I’d better check in with you about it.”
Look for signs of stress
Burnout costs UK businesses as much as £73 billion each year, whether the reason is employees having had to absorb too many changes or the fact that they’ve just been
working too hard for too long.
Probe for changes in the employee’s job
Perhaps there are new problems with equipment, resources or information flows; maybe a major customer is giving the employee a hard time, or a manager is behaving differently in some way.
Describe your expectations for the employee’s performance
And talk about how the business, team or customers are affected when it’s lacking. Although up to 87% of employees in one survey reported by Strategy + Business said they wanted opportunities for development, only one-third reported actually receiving feedback to help them improve.
So, make sure you’re concrete and specific about both expectations and impacts. Ask what employees need from you or from others in the company to help them get back on track.
Provide meaningful recognition
In a recent survey by the Cicero Group employees were three times more likely to choose recognition as the single factor most likely to motivate superior performance–over inspiration, autonomy and even pay.
Recognition doesn’t have to be expensive or even time-consuming. One managing director I coached used the daily standup meeting not just to review the progress of the work, but also to mention superior contributions and excellent performances. Not only did preparation for the daily meetings improve, but team members were eager to make contributions that could be noted.