What About That Underachieving Employee?

Joe Weinlick
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Managers must motivate and maximize employee performance to improve profits and productivity. Underachieving employees can pose a challenge for managers who must meet goals requiring teamwork and advanced skills. Management strategies that embrace motivating techniques can help to increase employee morale, thus impacting the success of employee accomplishments.

Managers and supervisors should reinforce the importance of maximizing skills from the employee's first day on the job. Engage underachieving employees by assigning a mentor or coach to field questions, enhance skills and naturally motivate by example. Customize a training program that adheres to the employee's style and find ways to motivate by building a personal connection with all new employees. Managers and mentors who take a special interest in the well-being, development and success of employees often motivate through intrinsic rewards.

Employees who have mastered skills but do not see the potential benefits of taking steps to move from average to above average may need something to look forward to on the job. For example, prompt underachieving employees to raise skill levels and offer opportunities to take on more responsibility that can create a sense of empowerment.

Management strategies must also include direct confrontation when an employee is intentionally underperforming. The approach is key. Managers should consult with the employee to determine if morale is low or if the employee is unaware of tasks that he needs to do. Take a special interest in how the employee views job performance, company culture and team goals and seek out strategies collaboratively to improve performance and productivity. Underachieving employees must also know the consequences of lazy performance. Outline how the employee needs to improve and construct a plan of action to meet personal and professional goals.

Make employee motivation a priority to enhance the performance of underachieving employees and create a cohesive culture within the office. Involve employees in company decisions and solicit feedback on policies, procedures and processes to promote a sense of loyalty and commitment. Keep the lines of communication open by explaining upcoming changes within the company. Be transparent to ease the stress of uncertainty that can lead to waning loyalty among employees. Employees who are aware of how the organization is changing are more likely to understand how their job performance impacts the company.

Provide ample training to keep employees motivated. Invest in online courses, host skill-building workshops, fund educational classes and provide team-building opportunities to make employees feel valued. An opportunity to improve their own skills with help from the company may provide the motivation employees need to develop personally and professionally.

Motivational strategies can be the key to eliminating the possibility of underachieving employees. Provide open and honest feedback and invest time and money into employee development to create a sense of loyalty and commitment within the company culture.

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