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The New Year ahead is a great time for a fresh start. If someone on your team is struggling, it’s an ideal point to hit the reset button and try to get them on track. Where do you begin? Here are some tips for helping them improve their performance in the New Year:

Set up a one-on-one.

Before the end of the year, set up a one-on-one conversation with your employee. It’s a good time to make sure you’re both on the same page. Explain the issues you’re seeing and the impact they’re having, but also give your employees time to provide their own insight and thoughts on the difficulties they’re facing. This will help ensure you have a handle on all the details and context, so you can create an effective plan forward.

Take a casual approach.

A talk with the boss is always a stressful situation for any employee. Try to make it as easygoing as possible by changing the venue. Go out for coffee or a drink after work or take them to lunch. This will help you both open up and be honest in a more comfortable and casual environment.

Ask about what you can do to help.

Be clear about the problem you’re seeing. But also ask what you can do to help. Perhaps there are issues going on at home that you don’t know about, and a more flexible schedule is the answer. Or, if you’re giving your employees projects that are above their level of expertise, they might need more training.

Make a plan.

Once you’ve had a conversation and you’ve both voiced your concerns, create a plan for how to tackle the issue together. Whether it’s through training opportunities, pairing them with a mentor, or re-assigning different tasks or shifts, make sure you’re both onboard and feel positive about the steps you’ll take moving forward.

Monitor performance.

As time goes on, be sure to check in with them to see what progress they’re making. Also, ask about any additional struggles or concerns, so you can deal with them together before they escalate.

Being open, honest, and empathetic is the best way to handle an employee who’s having a hard time. You’ll be able to get them on track in a way that doesn’t demoralize them.

Are you struggling with a skill gap on your team?

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