How To Engage Lethargic Employees?

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motivationsThere are people who feel that lazy workers are much like a ‘cancer’ in the workplace; no amount of motivation will work for them, because they are basically lazy and lethargic people.

Take this example: Jane was an entrepreneur. She had just one employee, June, working for her.

Although Jane put in her best efforts every day for building up her business, she found to her dismay that June was not doing anything towards the betterment of the business.

In fact, June would come up with innovative excuses every day for not having completed whatever she had to complete the previous day: either her child was sick, or her mother had had a fall, or the bus was late.

Jane was quite tolerant of June’s laziness, but after a certain point, she started feeling resentful of the number of times she had to fill in for her.

Jane spoke to a senior consultant about June’s behaviour. The consultant assured Jane that she was not running a social service for women with children; she was running a business where deadlines had to be kept, quality had to be maintained, and paper work had to be filled in. His advice to Jane was this: fire this lazy woman and appoint someone else in her place, someone who would perform better.

Jane thereafter did some research on how she would be able to motivate lazy employees, and here’s what she found:

  • You can talk to the employee, and tell her that her behaviour is not acceptable, and that if she desired to keep on working in the company, she would have to give her best performance, otherwise, she could look for another job. For many people, the prospect of losing their job can be frightening enough to motivate them into becoming interested in working better.
  • If you find that your employee’s performance has indeed improved over the next few months, you must take the trouble of congratulating her, and perhaps offering a reward.
  • If you find that the performance has not improved, let him go, without guilt. You cannot change this person, obviously.
  • Try to offer your employee wide choices, because this will give him a feeling of empowerment, as well as foster a sense of belonging in him. These will prove to be excellent motivators.
  • Try to criticise the behaviour, and not the person. This works well for parents and kids, therefore, it will have to work in the employer-employee relationship as well.
  • Maintain a personal relationship with your employees, but do not let it go too far.

With these tips, I am sure you will be able to handle lethargic and lazy employees better.

Posted in: Management Training

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