How to put the brakes on coasting employees

Alan Price – Chief Operations Officer

January 08 2019

One third of employees admit to coasting at work. They do just enough to get by so they won’t slip into a performance management process. But they’re not at your business to excel. Or at least they don’t seem to be… They don’t talk a lot to their colleagues. They’re negative about their role. And they’re not engaged with your business’s plans. Attitudes can be infectious—especially with small teams. If you’ve got a hard-working team who see one of their colleagues putting in minimal effort, you don’t want them to transform into a team of slackers. Here are some tips to transform the coaster in your business. Personal or professional? Get to the bottom of why your employee isn’t engaged with their job. You could have an informal chat with them to ask if they’ve got any problems that are impacting on their work. If your member of staff lacks confidence in a workplace process or procedure tied to their role, you can arrange for them to have some training or mentoring to give them a boost. A personal issue could be helped by an employee assistance programme (EAP) if your business provides one. It might also suggest whether your employee’s attitude is temporary or permanent. Are they looking for a step up? Sometimes, a long-serving member of staff can lose their mojo. It could be that newer members of staff have been promoted over them, or they don’t know how to develop their career. You could offer them a training opportunity that will improve their chances if a more senior role comes up in the future. If your employee feels like they’ve got a goal to work towards, and it’s a goal they’ve set for themselves, that will help them stay motivated in their current job. Set targets and track performance Staff need realistic and measurable targets all year around. That way, your employees know they have got to maintain a high standard of work every month of the year, rather than just a super-busy month before an appraisal. By arranging catch-ups with your employees to talk through their performance, you can highlight achievements and identify ways to support them in their work. Let staff know how you’ll reward consistently high standards. This could include promotions, pay rises or even bonuses. Banishing coasters from the top down If your teams see their managers taking longer lunch breaks, strolling into the office late, or leaving early for afternoon-long appointments, it’s unlikely they’ll see their own coasting as a problem. It’s your role to make sure your managers understand how to motivate and inspire their employees to be their best. That includes recognising hard work and progress both on an individual and a team basis. Now you know how to spot an employee cruising through their career, it’s time to stop coasters riding the wave in your workplace.  

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