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Every employee struggles at some point. As a manager, it’s up to you to recognize these situations and acknowledge them at the earliest possible stage. It may be tempting to simply let them run their course, but chances are, that won’t just happen on its own. It’s like most any challenge in life: sticking your head in the sand at best accomplishes nothing, and can often make things worse.

It all comes down to communication.

Getting a struggling employee back on track depends on open, two-way communication throughout the process. The more listening and support you offer, the more likely you are to accurately identify the problem and work collaboratively to resolve it.

  • Get to the root cause. Your first step is to talk to the employee. Perhaps they don’t even realize a problem exists. Sometimes, issues are glaringly obvious from a management perspective, but subtle or even nonexistent in the mind of a team member. If your employee has the same concerns you do, you’ve already made good headway towards resolution. If not, then you need to raise their self-awareness and possibly project clearer expectations to them.
  • Be an active listener. Don’t be too quick to judge, begin to craft a resolution, or even respond immediately. At first, just listen to your employees and empathize with their situation.
  • Is the problem internal or external? This is a key factor in dictating how you can best support your employees. Issues related to a person’s job, coworkers, or department may not be easy, but they’re within your professional realm to address. If a problem is external, your job is to let your team members know you’ll support them, and then provide whatever resources you can. For instance, it may be some extra time off work, a more flexible schedule, or a referral to your employee assistance program. Reassure them that they’re not dealing with their stress in a vacuum.

Steps to a Solution

As you conclude your conversation, review all the key points one last time to assure that you and your employee agree on what the problem is. Now, you can take steps to resolve it.

  • Highlight your employee’s strengths. Leverage their best traits and greatest abilities when problem solving. Use these, along with your own performance data, to put those qualities to good use.
  • Share the big picture. Be sure your team member has a clear understanding of how their work impacts the company overall. Give them this key insight. One approach is to encourage them to ask questions regarding anything they may be unsure of. Help them have a vested interest in a job well done by seeing how what they do empowers themselves and others.
  • Recognize results. When an employee shows notable improvement, find an appropriate way to acknowledge them. Recognition should match the scale of their achievement.

Helping struggling employees isn’t always easy, but the end results lead to higher job satisfaction, morale, and productivity, and strengthen your relationships. As you build your industry-leading workforce in areas including administration, warehousing, manufacturing, skilled labor, and finance and accounting, consider partnering with PrideStaff Modesto. Central Valley owned and operated for more than 30 years, we’ll custom tailor strategies that fit your company, culture, and vision. Contact us today to learn more.

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