What do you do when your previously high-performing employees hit a plateau?
This is not an uncommon occurrence – and it could be due to any number of contributing factors. But it is a problem. As a business leader, you work constantly to exceed previous results, and you need everyone pulling in the same direction for that to succeed.
Why Employees Plateau
There are a number of reasons why employees level off in terms of their performance. If you recognize them, you can nip the problem in the bud, before a situation regresses to the point of lost morale or lower productivity.
Plateauing may result from:
- Management shortfalls: Your managers may lack the necessary communication skills to provide their employees with proper feedback or direction. If they invoke fear in their team members, they may find that the work gets done, but only at a bare minimal level as they drain positivity and satisfaction from their people. Hint: They may not even realize they’re doing it!
- Lack of motivation: Employees who perform the same duties day in and day out or are constantly assigned to projects that require little thought or creativity, may plateau as a result. Be alert for any stagnation that may creep into your workforce.
- Absence of rewards: Without recognition for a well done, employees can quickly become frustrated. This causes them to exert less and less effort as time goes by. You can incite people to work harder – and happier – through rewards and perks such as higher pay, added benefits, promotions or paid time off.
- External factors: Reasons completely unrelated to work; for example, family or health issues, also can lead to plateaus. Be sure to offer support and assistance as needed to help a person get back on track.
How to Help
Here are some tips to help your employees move past their plateaus and resume contributing to and finding enjoyment in their work. Chances are, they’ll appreciate the change as much as you do.
- Understand why people plateau. Help employees realize that it’s a normal occurrence. Honest feedback from you sends a clear signal that their activities are important and that you are prepared to provide support.
- Devise a new project for an employee. This shows your trust and provides the spark they need to get up to speed again. Since plateaued employees often are bored, make sure then are given useful responsibilities. Avoid assigning busy work that is clearly beneath them, just to keep them occupied.
- Change your organizational structure. Modify it to make it more horizontal, and establish additional responsible positions. In doing so, consider lateral promotions. If workers have little chance of advancement in one area, they may be more valuable in another.
- Seek the input of plateaued employees. Discuss how their job might be made more stimulating.
- Provide counseling. This will help individuals overcome any personal or professional crises that contribute to their situation.
The workforce development team at PrideStaff Modesto can help as you implement a process to reverse employee plateaus – and spot these and other performance issues at the earliest possible stage. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.