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Restart a dud’s engines

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management,Performance Reviews

In her first year as supervisor, Stacy shined. Her high energy, innovative ideas and exceptional dedication impressed everyone. But with each passing year, she lost more luster. She didn’t try as hard, and she no longer stood out as a top performer.

Motivating employees like Stacy to regain their early edge requires creativity. Standard tactics such as dangling cash bonuses or praising frequently may not work. Try these techniques:

Increase performance reviews. Longtime supervisors or middle managers may lapse into lazy habits and start taking their jobs for granted. That often happens when they only get one or two performance appraisals a year.

Flood them with feedback on their performance by conducting more frequent, detailed reviews. Give input on a monthly or quarterly basis. Set short-term goals with your employee and use the meetings as checkpoints.

Inject newness. Help employees fight off the same-old, same-old blues. Too much predictability can kill motivation, so introduce healthy change. Examples: Provide training, put the supervisor in charge of a pilot project or move the person into a new office.

Turn them into mentors. Pair veteran supervisors with ambitious, energetic new hires. The newcomers’ enthusiasm may prove contagious. You also can reawaken longtime managers’ drive by asking for their advice on personnel or corporate issues.

Plumb their desire. When employees lose their initial love of the job, find out why. Use questions to determine what they want at this stage of their career. Examples: “What would you ideally like as your job?” or “If you could wave a magic wand and create a new job for yourself, what would it be?” Their answers can help you assess whether to modify the job, assist them in making a lateral move or help them quit and find gratification elsewhere.

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