Four tips to help struggling employees

    January 8, 2019

    Sometimes, employees struggle at work. Maybe a new hire’s having trouble adjusting to your company’s processes, or perhaps an existing employee is challenged by a stretch assignment. Whatever the situation, it’s your job as their manager to help your people find ways to overcome any issues so they can improve their performance. 

    As John Rampton advises in his Entrepreneur article titled “How to Help a Struggling Employee Get Back on Track,” by being patient and understanding, you can help your employees resolve their problems so they can once again be productive members of your team — not to mention become happier and more engaged. Keep the following four tips in mind: 

    1. Listen. Before assuming you know why an employee is struggling, it’s wise to sit down and listen to their input. Sometimes, personal issues might be causing the problems, in which case you could advise the employee to take advantage of counseling or offer them flexible work hours for a while. If the reason isn’t personal, try to determine exactly where the problem lies and how you can help. Perhaps there’s one aspect of their job that they find incredibly challenging, or maybe they feel they don’t possess the required skills. Once you understand their point of view, assure them that you wouldn’t have given them the project if you weren’t confident about their skills and that you’ll support them as they work their way through the assignment.

    2. Guide them through the project. When a certain type of project is new to an employee, it can be helpful to break the assignment down into smaller steps. Go over each step and clarify any questions your employee may have. Then assign a deadline for the completion of each step so the employee can complete the project within the appropriate amount of time. 

    3. rovide advice. Sometimes it helps just to talk through the challenge and let the employee find the solution on their own. That’s why you should be available to provide advice and support as needed. You can also offer some inspiration by sharing how you overcame similar challenges in the past.

    4. Reduce their workload. When an employee has too much on their plate, it’s easy for them to become overwhelmed. If they’re consistently staying late and missing deadlines, it can be helpful to reduce their workload to a more manageable size.

    If none of these strategies work, it might be time to reevaluate your employee’s place on the team or within the company. Because when an employee isn’t performing well and can’t deliver what’s expected of them — even with your support — they’re likely to become unhappy. Since you understand not only their limitations, but also their strengths, you can encourage them to find a role that’s better suited to their unique skillsets — whether that’s within or outside of your organization.



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