Blog / Working with Unmotivated Employees

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Every company has them…..employees who are working as a means to an end. They aren’t the productive, over achieving worker you hoped, but more the type who does just enough to get by. Often times, these types of employees can bring an entire team down with their lack of enthusiasm for their job. Addressing this problem needs to be done quickly so the entire department or organization doesn’t take a morale hit. There are three ways you can handle unmotivated employees. Trying each strategy in progression will be most effective.

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Talk to them privately - Frequently, people don’t realize their perceived lack of effort has an effect on their entire team. Taking them aside and providing them with actual examples of times they seemed to get in the way of an idea or didn’t move on a project as quickly as they should have, can help them understand other’s perspective. Conversely, be sure to see their perspective as well. Are there reasons why this particular person seems to hold back and, if so, are there things you can do to help them become more of a team player.

Help them understand “why” - For most people, understanding the purpose behind a project or task helps motivate them to do the task well. Be sure your entire team is on the same page and sees the big picture. Knowing the small mundane tasks are necessary in completing a larger project will help everyone keep their focus on the end result.

Make it clear to employees what is at stake - Even after implementing the first two strategies, there might be an employee that just can’t seem to step up their game. At that point, you need to make it VERY clear of the personal losses at stake. Remind the employee that in exchange for a stable work environment, steady paycheck and any other benefits, it is expected they contribute to the organization in a productive manner. If they can’t hold up their end of the commitment, they may not last in their position long term. If this conversation needs to be had, the employee will decide if their job is important enough to turn things around. If it isn’t, it’s in your entire team's’ best interest to find someone who is willing to do their part.

Trying these strategies can help unmotivated employees understand how their behavior can negatively impact the rest of the team. More often than not, they will be willing to improve their contributions to the organization.

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