How To Deal With Slow Employees

Dealing With Difficult Staff


Learning how to deal with slow employees can be a very frustrating and stressful experience. Fixing an under-performing worker is a difficult task and sometimes it just can’t be done. The best chance you’ve got of turning around a slow employee is direct communication and proper documentation. Here’s how to manage slow employee work.

Dealing with employees who work slow begins with having good training. Don’t underestimate the importance of training and development. Ideally you’ll have a well structured and documented training plan for all positions. In real life, most of us don’t have that.

The next best thing is to have one ‘expert’ train each new person. This helps to standardize the training a little bit at least. Having a different person train each new person ends up with a hodge-podge of random practices. Its hard to blame a slow worker that has poor training.

So let’s assume that your slow employee is trained effectively and still can’t keep up. Try to determine what the problem is so you’ll know how to address it. Are they just working to slow? Are they getting distracted? Are they completely incompetent? Are they goofing off too much? All of these are basically handled the same way, but you’ll need to know what to discuss in your meeting.

Good managers always take someone aside to discuss performance issues. When you are in private, tell the slow worker what the problem is. Make it clear what needs to get done each day and what you see as being the problem (like one of the above reasons). Ask them what they think the problem is.

They may agree that your reason is why they are not producing enough. They may think something else entirely. They may not realize anything is wrong. Whatever the case, it is your job to make sure they understand what is expected going forward. Inform them there will be disciplinary action if they cannot perform acceptably.

Then just document whatever results you see. If things improve, tell them so. Let them know you appreciate their hard work in turning things around. Employee appreciation is woefully under-utilized as a management tool. If performance does not improve, you’ll be forced to take action.

Most companies start with write ups. Generally after three write ups, a slow worker must be terminated. If you have given them that many chances and they have not taken steps to improve their own performance, there is no need for you to feel bad. Their fate is in their hands.

This advice should make clear how to deal with slow staff. Dealing with slow workers is critical to the success of your team, and the success of your own career!

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