Employee Engagement

5 Ways to Empower a Struggling Employee

By Betterworks
April 19, 2016
2 minute read

All offices face performance issues at some point or another. As a manager, it’s your job to recognize when those problems happen and to help employees overcome them. If you’re noticing an employee isn’t reaching his or her goals or milestones, address it quickly and directly. Though it may be tempting to let the issue solve itself, it’s better for your business and your employees if you acknowledge the problem proactively. Here are some strategies to empower struggling employees and get them back on track:

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Get the Employee Perspective

The first thing you need to do is ensure your employee understands something has gone wrong. Sometimes an issue that’s obvious from a managerial perspective is subtle – or even invisible – to employees. Schedule a conversation with your worker and ask for his or her perspective on recent performance. If your employee notices the same issues you do, great! If not, that lets you know you may need to project clearer expectations to your team.

“Leverage strengths to solve problems.”

Highlight Strengths

Even when you’re talking about problems, you need to think about the situation in terms of strengths. According to CIO, this type of thinking allows you to have a more productive conversation – after all, you want to leverage your worker’s greatest abilities when solving the issue. Use your employee’s personal assessment of strengths alongside your performance management data to determine his or her best qualities. Then, evaluate how those can be used to improve the situation.

Share the Big Picture

Sometimes employees don’t have a full understanding of exactly how their work impacts the company overall. If you suspect this is the case, try to give your workers some insight. One approach is a candid conversation where employees are encouraged to ask questions about anything they’re unsure of. Be sure to describe how their work empowers other departments and the company overall, so they have a vested interest in a job well done.

Set Goals and Milestones

Use objectives and key results to build a game plan for improvement. Start by coming up with a wider goal that reflects both the expectations you have for the employee and how the work that results from those expectations will benefit the company. Next, figure out clear and concrete milestones the employee must reach along the way. This method empowers the struggling worker to move in the right direction going forward.

Recognize Results

Finally, find a way to recognize when your employee improves. The recognition should match the scale of achievement – it could be anything from a quick shout out in a team conversation to discussing advancement opportunities. When you do this, you let the employee know you appreciate his or her hard work, and you illustrate the impact he or she has had on the company overall.

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