How to address lack of productivity in employees

| August 25, 2015

How to address lack of productivity in employees

As a small business owner, the contribution of each and every employee in your business is vital. Unlike big corporations, you can’t really afford for one employee to underperform because that can affect your business on the whole.

However, addressing lack of productivity usually can be a challenge.

Small business workplace relationships generally tend to be much more intimate and connected. The environment is somewhat less formal and the rapport between employee and employer can be very warm and friendly. In such cases, it can be difficult to address any problems with productivity.

Establish Trust

It’s best to establish trust and good communication with your employees from the very beginning. This ensures that if you ever have a problem with them, you can speak with them about it candidly and without hesitation. If your employees know you care about them and aren’t just business and customer oriented, they’re more likely to respond positively to feedback.

Keep the Timing in Mind

Sometimes, employees are going through a personal crisis that’s affecting their productivity. If they have historically proven themselves to be productive, it’s best to wait it out. If your employee regains his momentum, you don’t need to address it at all.

If you feel the need to mention it, time it properly, when he’s completely clear of his personal problems and do so gently and briefly. It would also serve you better if you deal with the problem early on instead of letting it grow and develop. If your employee habitually underperforms, it would be best to bring it to their attention as early as possible.

Understand their skills and limitations

Not all of your employees possess equal skills and levels of productivity. Some can be high performers and some can be low performers. The trick to get the best you can get from your low performers as well. That can be achieved by being smart about how you assign your tasks and how your create teams.

Sometimes, pairing a low performing employee with a high performing one can be a good idea. Some people might be more productive if they’re working on their own. If you recognize this and act accordingly, you might increase overall productivity.

Brevity is Important

Keep the conversation short, clear and honest when you’re addressing an underperforming employee. If you drag the conversation too long, spend more time reassuring them than focusing on the problem, you might not be effective and undermine your purpose.

Explain the situation to your employee in short words and that’ll have more of an impact on them. Be sure to focus on the problem. Some people have the habit of just providing hints and not addressing the issue directly.

Set a Tone

You don’t want your employee to feel like a child being scolded by a school teacher. Be sure that you converse with your employee easily, confidently and with respect. It should be a conversation between mature adults. If you’re treating them with respect, they’ll feel valued and be more likely to respond positively.

Always keep the conversation centred on trying to find solutions and working towards improving performance. That gives your employees room to improve themselves.