There are countless reasons why an employee might be struggling and performing poorly. They might be new and still learning, or they might be a veteran employee who suddenly hits a performance skid. It might be a personal reason. It might be a lack of motivation. It might be that they’re bored and disengaged from their usual challenges. Regardless, it’s your job as a leader to guide them through the struggle and get them back on track. Here are four tips for helping a struggling employee.
Don’t assume anything
be patient and don’t jump to any quick conclusions about why someone is struggling. If you don’t find out all the facts and the real reason for the employee’s decline, you can’t help them. Approach the employee. Find out what else was going on when they started to struggle. Did they move? Divorce? Were they just swamped during the holidays? Be clear that they’re not in trouble, and you’re not about to fire them. Let them know that you will support them.
Have an open door
Reassure your employees that you’d like to encourage an open dialogue. They might be ashamed or stressed about their performance and not sure how to handle it. You should be holding regular conversations with each of your employees anyway—to ask for feedback, assess morale, and provide advice and suggestions—so you should have a pretty good handle on how they’re doing. Moreover, these meetings help to establish a level of trust between you and your employees, so honest sharing should be nothing new. Be sincere and sympathetic during these meetings to further build that trust and respect.
Be open and honest
Don’t hesitate to share your own struggles. Give your employees hope by explaining the obstacles you overcame and describing how you did so. They might find they have a lot in common with you and can learn from your experience. Your personal encouragement can help your employees recover and begin improving, knowing that they have your support.
Track performance openly
Find objective ways to track your employees’ performance. This way, they’re aware of how they’re doing, and what goals they may have missed and when you approach them to ask what’s going on, they’ll know you have evidence. It also lets your employees know that you believe in them and that you’re interested in seeing them succeed. Once you’ve noticed the employee’s decline, work with them to create a detailed plan to get them on track. Be supportive—if there’s something going on in their personal life, offer them some time off so they can deal with it and refocus. If work is overwhelming, work with them to set small, manageable goals until they’re more at ease.
For more tips on how to support your employees and encourage them to grow, contact PrideStaff St. Pete Clearwater today.