6 Ways to Deal with Poor Performers and How To Help Them Improve
The global workforce is now facing one of the biggest hurdles of their professional lives. Their respective industries steepened the competition and raised the demands for valuable skills and talents. The requirements for any job are now beyond the current skill level of most employees.
As a result of this discord, there has been a massive gap between employee capabilities and job requirements. In fact, a 2015 World Bank report highlighted the intention and difficulties of companies to hire adequately skilled workers for blue and white collar jobs. The same report noted that this gap is costly for all stakeholders involved — workers, employers, and society.
While most companies don’t send the less skilled employees out the door right away, they can only bear the loss for a short time. If poor performers don’t improve themselves, they might end up next on the management’s ‘to-fire’ list. This may seem unfair to the employees who have been running the same job for eons, but the company also needs to keep up with the cutthroat competition. As a team leader or manager, you have the chance to avoid this by investing in your team’s executive coaching.
Groom people instead of firing them
You need to protect your people from getting voted out. These people may be dispensable individuals to the CFO, but these people are more than just statistics or part of the collateral damage to you. You know them personally. In fact, you even know the members of their families. You understand that they can still be coached despite what they lack. And just like how you want your top performers to stay in the company, you also value the contribution of the poor performers and believe that they can still improve. As the leader, it’s your role to convince the CEO that they should be given a shot at redemption. Besides that, you also have to show that it’s more beneficial for the company to groom them into better and more productive team players than forcing them to plan their retirement. And lastly, since you stood up for them, you also have to lead them out of the woods – otherwise known as low productivity and poor performance. So, how do you do that? Check the tips we provided for your team below.
1. Start with a reality check.
The very first step towards profitable change is to conduct an inventory of your team’s current capabilities. Be truthful in the way you size up every team member. Take this time to identify what’s the problem within the team and within each individual. It’s easier to tackle the problem if you know every ‘nook and cranny.’ Compare the current requirements for your team member’s jobs with their existing qualifications. This will help you customise an executive coaching plan for them. If coaching your employees and training them seems like uncharted territory, you could also work with an executive coach. The benefit of this is that you can also act as a participant in the training. The solution that your coach could come up with can be applied to achieve a common goal.
2. Conduct team-building activities and self-development training
Most of the time, people underperform not because they lack skill but mostly because they’re not that motivated. They may have felt that they’re no longer growing in their job, and your company doesn’t offer a clear career plan to keep the fire burning. Or maybe they couldn’t identify themselves with the wins of your company. You need to find out what is stopping these people from being productive. One of the most effective ways of rekindling that passion for their job and their achievements is by taking them out of the work environment and giving them time to refocus on themselves. You can do this by holding a self-development training where you can tackle topics like dangers of a negative mindset, going back to their essence, building goals and achieving them, and how to talk positively to one’s self. These topics will allow them to dwell on themselves and get back that drive they once have. According to an article posted in Forbes, these training programs are proven to have boosted the company bottom line.
3. Follow-up your training with a coaching plan
The one-time training won’t solve the problem with poor performance. If you stop there, the best you could achieve is letting them feel that short-lived ‘seminar high.’ When you don’t follow up about their commitments and goals, you’re back to square one. After the training, schedule weekly or bi-monthly meet-ups with your team and discuss their wins, struggles, and progress. If you keep this up, you’ll be amazed at how they could stay committed to their goals to benefit the company.
4. Institutionalise a reward system
You see, there is no such thing as genuine altruism. People have different motivations for doing something the right way. People will always find out what’s in it for them before deciding to jump in and join the club. This is a fact that you can’t change, so you might as well use this to move them to participate in achieving your team and the company’s collective goal. A reward system need not involve money since it’s not what motivates people the most. A simple recognition ceremony to acknowledge an employee for a job well done can go a long way. When they feel needed, accepted, and appreciated, it’s almost natural for them to be passionate with what they do. In fact, according to Tony Robbins, a world-renowned motivational speaker, passion is the best motivator for any person. You could devise different and unique ways of rewarding your team members. Just make sure that it’s sustainable and fun for everyone.
5. Deal with the ‘weakest links’ in the team fairly.
According to John Maxwell, your team’s weakest member reflects the whole team’s strength. Rewarding top performers is not enough to encourage your team members to be on board all the time. You also need to spank the constant low performers. One of the most common reasons top-performing employees leave the company is that they don’t see their leaders do something about the weakest links or low-performing team members. To keep the good apples, you also need to separate and give attention to the bad ones if you want to have a good harvest.
6. Walk the talk.
This may sound like another cliche, but it still definitely holds — you need to lead by example. The best way to encourage your team members to excel is to be what you expect them to be. Talk is cheap, so pair it and seal it with action. It’s easier to convince people to change and be better versions of themselves if they see you taking the lead. Leading a team isn’t a walk in the park. Being called a leader doesn’t earn you bragging rights. Instead, it’s a tremendous obligation to lead the pack and make sure that they reach their destination unscathed. Aside from paving the path for his people, leaders are also bound to invest aggressively in their team members. They know that these people are his best assets to achieve the common goal. And they can only be well-equipped for whatever battle they need to face if they never lack in skills and personal development training.
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