"Motivating Marginal Workers"
Newsletter September 26, 2013
Assessing the performance and capabilities of your employees is always a difficult task, especially when you are trying to determine the marginal workers in your team. Marginal workers are the employees who meet your minimum performance standards but rarely exceed them. They are not bad enough to be fired, but do not really carry their own weight.
It takes a good manager to recognize the different types of marginal workers and learn the appropriate techniques to motivate them to high levels of performance. Here are some ideas for helping marginal workers succeed.
1. Better selection.
This is one of the major methods in avoiding marginal production. By establishing realistic job specifications and not compromising when hiring people - even when desperate to fill the job - the chances of selecting people who will succeed on the job will be enhanced. Hire in haste and lament at leisure! Despite thorough selection procedures, errors may occur and the person hired may not make the grade. That is why probationary periods are so important. The supervisor should make sure the new worker knows what he or she is expected to do and the standards that must be met. Be patient and make every effort (additional training, coaching, special attention etc.) to salvage the trainee.
The deteriorating performance can sometimes be caused by a real or perceived grievance. Some people keep their grievances deep inside themselves and it festers unless it is brought out and addressed. At times, employees may be disappointed by their failure to meet certain professional goals. Learn about your team members' goals and help them achieve them. Let your employee know what he or she must do to attain the goals - including maintaining a high performance level, taking additional training etc.
3. Eliminate Boredom.
Some employees may have been performing the same job function for so long that they no longer enjoy it. You can help formerly productive workers return to productivity by enriching their jobs. Try combining functions that were performed by several people into one job so that each worker does more diverse work. Another method is to restructure the manner in which the work is done. Encourage your employees to come up with ideas to make the work more interesting and effective. Assigning the worker to special projects can also help bring a change of pace and foster innovation and creativity.
These are typically good workers who have been with the organization for many years. They can contribute to productivity but feel they've done their part. By assigning "old-timers" to new projects, you are not only showing respect for their experience but gives them an opportunity to do something new and different. This stimulation carries over when they return to their regular work. You can also try enlisting these more seasoned employees as trainers and mentors of new hires.Getting people out of their Comfort Zones is an important antidote to boredom. By recognizing the different types of workers in your team and their needs, you can infuse their enthusiasm and motivation with different assignments and projects. This will enable them to become more dedicated to the job and help convert them into productive members of the company team.