When you have talented employees within your organization that underperforms, it can be difficult to find the right strategy to approach them and offer advice. However, it’s critical to find an efficient way of communicating with them about their performance before things reach the point of no turning back.
There are many reasons that talented employees underperforms – problems at home, a lack of motivation at work, employee burnout; the possibilities are endless. While it may seem nearly impossible to find a resolution at times, it’s not as difficult as you think.
In fact, you can use eLearning or your LMS platform to remedy these situations in many cases. In this article, we’ll touch on this strategy, hopefully giving you another weapon in your arsenal for turning around underperforming employees.
Old Ways Don’t Work
In the past, companies dealt with underperforming employees using one strategy (for the most part). They gave them a pink slip and showed them the door.
It’s important to note that sometimes termination is warranted. However, this doesn’t mean you should take this route 100% of the time.
This is especially true in today’s corporate environment, where retaining skilled team members is getting more difficult by the day. Keeping your best employees is critical at this point, and if one of them is underperforming, you need to find a way to show them that you’re there to help.
One of the best ways to navigate these situations is by showing team members you’re on their side. Instead of attacking them, approach the issue from a platform of compassion.
Tell them that you’re there to help them improve to make things easier for them and improve their experience at work. Sometimes retraining is one of the only options during underperformance challenges, and your LMS could be one of your most effective weapons.
If your organization has never faced this problem and used LMS as a remedy, how do you craft eLearning modules that will sharpen employees back up and return them to normal? This is going to cost money. How do you accomplish this and create a whole new set of courses without breaking the bank?
Hopefully, this won’t become a common problem, so you have to ask yourself how often these courses will be used. Can you incorporate elements that make these courses usable by all employees when they simply want to remain sharp?
When you’re developing additions to your learning management system, it’s important that you find a way to get the maximum ROI, so everything makes sense. Besides maximizing your investment, you also want to maximize the results, so your new strategy actually improves the issues you’re having.
You need to ask yourself a few important questions first.
Is It an Employee Issue or Poor Leadership Issue?
Often, when team members hit slumps or have challenges with their performance, you’ll find that the root of the problem isn’t the employee. You’d be surprised to find out how many times management ends up being the cause of these issues.
If you have leaders in your organization that aren’t lighting a spark under your employees, the end result is always going to be a decline in employee performance. Regardless of how long employees have been with an organization, there always needs to be times when they get excited about their jobs again.
Employees who don’t get excited about their work will be severely unengaged, and their performance will always decline as a result. The first thing you need to do is identify the true root of these challenges and decide if it’s at an employee level or leadership level.
If It Is Management, Then What?
If you find that it’s a management issue, it’s important not to jump the gun and put a new manager in place. Sometimes switching managers can produce a temporary uptick in performance, but sometimes this can be short-lived – and in some cases – an illusion.
Maybe you should consider management training. This is one option. What if you find that the issue is actually within the employee?
If It’s the Employee
If you find that the issue does lie with the employee, the first thing you need to do is identify what areas have been affected the most by their underperformance. In most cases, you’ll find a specific set of skills that are lacking as a result of their decline.
Does your employee actually need to obtain an entirely new set of skills, or do they just need to brush up on specific skills that already exist within their arsenal? Depending on which of these you decide on, both will have an entirely different set of remedies.
You should be aware of a few specific elements regarding the training you implement to correct these underperformance issues.
- The training should be as exciting and enriching as possible. It’s vital that they don’t find these modules boring, however. You should consider the fact that they’re also looking at these modules as a form of punishment, which could make them nervous or trigger anxiety. This will create problems with actually digesting the material, making the entire process counterproductive. When you make the learning material as entertaining as possible, you have a pretty high probability that you’ll eliminate these learning barriers.
- It’s critical that you focus on the challenge they’re having and not them as an individual. When you make it about them, things get personal, and this is when your approach ends up failing. Don’t be overly critical of these employees, and make things more about the things you’re trying to help them change.
- You should also take steps to make the training modules as personal as you can. Try to avoid implementing training information that they’ve already seen in the past. This can be boring to them, and again, this is counterproductive. Making the training personal gives them more of a feeling that this learning process is truly being implemented to help them.
It’s important that you’re compassionate when handling issues of underperformance. Consider that team members may be going through personal issues and could even be embarrassed about their recent performance.
Don’t forget to focus on their strengths and areas they have been doing well. Give them personal examples of your struggles, and let them know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.