How to Motivate Lazy Employees

What do you do if the employee who showed so much promise during their interview turns into something else entirely?

On the job, they are lazy and unmotivated. They may even drag others down with them – and they will most likely have a negative effect on morale, productivity or profitability. Yikes!

Granted, there will be the occasional bad hire, where you are bamboozled by someone who interviews well, but just doesn’t care about their work or your company. But more often than not, you can address the painful issue of lazy employees by finding the root cause and making necessary changes.

Look in the Mirror

It’s easy for a frustrated manager to say, “I have the worst employees ever!” than it is for them to stop and ask, “What can I do differently to motivate my team?”

Every manager must see their own part in engaging their employees – or nothing will change.

  • Involve employees in their own continuous improvement. Managers should tell their team members that “I want to make us better”, and then ask them, “Where should we start?” The key word here is “we.” Every time you ask an employee’s opinion and listen to their input, the trust level grows a little bit more. Involve people in plans for change and you will instantly enhance your company culture.
  • Take some risks. Encourage transparency in communications. Tell people the truth, even if they don’t necessarily want to hear it. By the way, this starts with you and your boss.

More Tips

In most cases, there will be a reason why an employee is underperforming. It may be a personal issue, an unreachable target or the fact they are struggling with some part of their job. A manager will not know for sure unless they ask.

  • Have a frank discussion. Managers should call formal meetings and sit down with employees who are failing to measure up to expectations. They should constructively discuss what’s going on – constantly reminding the individual of the important role they play in the business. This conversation should provide the opportunity to help those who are genuinely struggling, and give inherently lazy individuals the kick start they need to get back on track.
  • Offer incentives. Most people work better when they know a reward is available for exceeding goals. In the words of author and business expert Tom Peters, “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” Incentives don’t always have to be monetary. For instance, the prospect of a promotion, new responsibilities or even a paid day off may be enough to significantly enhance morale and engagement.
  • Seek first to understand -and offer support. People’s personal lives have a huge impact on their work. A “lazy” employee may actually have something else going on in their life. Be approachable and accommodating. The loyalty you gain from treating your employees fairly – and like the human beings they are – will be well worth it in the long run.

As you address your ongoing talent acquisition and management issues, consider partnering with PrideStaff Fresno. We offer workforce growth solutions in areas including administrative, medical billing and records management, customer service, production and distribution, IT, finance and legal support. Read our related posts, or contact us today to learn more.

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