You’re at a standstill with one of your employees.
Initially, they had so much drive. Where did it go?
The problem may not be with the employee. It could be that your management style is missing the mark. You may not be providing the coaching and support your employees truly need.
Here are four signs that your employees may need additional guidance or assistance from you.
1. Not contributing to your company’s goals
Do you share your business plan and goals with your employees? Miscommunication can lead to misalignment in work.
Alex Raymond, CEO of Kapta, says that most companies aren’t aligned because executives and managers don’t spend the time necessary to communicate the company’s mission, vision and goals, according to Tech Cocktail.
Your employees are most likely aware of short-term goals, such as daily or quarterly sales quotas. But it’s equally as important to educate your team on your company’s long-term goals, such as opening a new location or releasing a new product line.
Explain how their work will help the company achieve these goals. Your employees will feel more relevant and part of something much bigger. This can help motivate them, improving engagement and productivity.
You should also routinely evaluate the effectiveness of their day-to-day tasks. Are they spending most of their time on work that’s growing your business or are they assigned to tasks that produce very little return on the time they’ve invested?
Employees who are bogged down by trivial tasks won’t be able to contribute as much to your business growth. Is this work really necessary? If so, consider spreading it out among other team members or automating processes, when possible. This can free up your employees’ schedules so that they can spend more time on revenue generating tasks.
2. Not completing tasks
Are your employees missing deadlines? Do they seem scattered, distracted or disorganized? This may indicate that they simply don’t know what’s expected from them.
As a business leader, before assigning employees to a project, you should clearly define priorities and goals.
Goals should be written so they’re specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely (SMART). This practice helps ensure your employees know exactly what is expected of them and how you define success.
In addition, you should make a point to follow-up with your employees throughout every project to ensure things are going according to plan.
For example, when allocating tasks to employees, be sure to designate time, whether it is once a week or a few times a month, to meet and discuss progress. Structured and consistent status meetings will help increase accountability and clarity.
3. Making mistake after mistake
If employees are inefficient and errors are rising, don’t immediately assume it’s the employee’s fault. There are many other factors that can play a part. Assess the whole situation before you decide how to remedy the issue.
First, evaluate whether if the problem can be attributed to the tools or equipment they use. Is their equipment easy-to-use and working properly? Are there any other tools that could help them be more accurate and efficient?
Next, evaluate whether their workspace and surrounding environment support the type of work they’re doing. For example, employees who are doing a lot of data entry may need a quiet environment free of distractions.
If equipment or environment isn’t an issue, perhaps your employees need additional training. Identify the skills that your employees need to complete their tasks more effectively, whether it’s technical software or customer relations training. Once you know what your employees need to work on, sit down with them and create a clear cut development plan so that they can easily acquire the necessary skills.
Companies like the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) see training as a key to corporate success. In 2013, CIBC spent $69 million on staff education and training for its more than 43,000 employees in Canada and around the world, which is up from $62-million in 2012 and $58-million three years ago.
As a small business, offering an extensive training program such as this probably isn’t feasible. But that doesn’t mean providing employees with training is totally out of the question. There are plenty of budget-friendly options out there, such as developing a mentoring program, creating step-by-step job aids, cross training, online training courses and videos, just to name a few.
4. Not engaged
Like a gifted student in a class that’s too easy for him or her, employees who seem bored and easily distracted might be in the wrong role. Another sign your employee is in the wrong role is that they loan their talents to projects outside their job tasks and shine on these project.
When you see this, meet one-on-one with your disengaged employees. Ask them if they’re happy in their role. If they admit to being displeased, ask them what they’d rather be doing. It may simply be that the job isn’t what your employees expected when they were hired. Is there something you can do to make their job more satisfying? If not, you may want to consider transitioning them into a position where they’re more likely to excel. Finding a place for them that better fits their strengths can positively affect productivity. Though, this may not always be possible in a small business.
Stay in-touch with your workforce
Most of these signs will present themselves in a combination. By recognizing these red flags and taking action, you can salvage a good employee as well as your bottom line.
Still not sure how to properly coach your employees? Click here to learn how Insperity’s dedicated team of HR professionals can help you be a leader they’ll love.