If you’re like most employers, you probably have at least a few employees who “coast” through their work. They don’t do anything wrong, per se, but they have figured out how to deliver exactly the minimum that is required and never go out of their way to excel. This can be frustrating because these employees generally aren’t motivated by performance reviews or appeals to their better nature. But they can still become great team members with a bit of effort on your part, and most of them are worth the trouble. Here are some things to try.
Check Your Expectations
The modern workplace is filled with buzzwords such as “success,” “excellence,” and “results.” But is it really necessary for every employee to consistently over-deliver? Your team is made up of humans, not robots, and burnout is a very real consideration. Is your “coasting” employee reliable? Can you count on her to keep her word and meet her deadlines? Does she work well with others and contribute to the company culture? Before you start trying to push employees to “excel,” make sure you’re not potentially alienating those who are already excelling in their own way.
Find Their Motivation
Sometimes employees coast because they’re bored. This could be as simple as a mismatch between the person’s interests and his job duties, or perhaps he’s just been doing the same thing for too long. Or maybe he’s simply recuperating after finishing a major work project. Get to know your employees to determine what motivates them. The “dad” of your work group might find new inspiration in helping to design workflows or guidelines. Maybe the creative type can help design a new company logo. You don’t necessarily need to move employees around (though this is something to be open to), but try to find a way to incorporate their passions into their work.
Avoid the Blame Game
Everyone wants to succeed, and some people are willing to let others take the fall for team issues. If members of your team start singling out others as a problem, listen to their complaints but be sure to consider both sides. Encourage all team members to develop and present possible solutions for things that go wrong, focusing on how to make the entire team more successful rather than pointing fingers at each other.
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