Article: 4 steps to handle underachievers & make them proactive

Employee Engagement

4 steps to handle underachievers & make them proactive

The best hires can sometimes slack at their work right after joining. What should the HR managers/team managers do to make things right?
4 steps to handle underachievers & make them proactive

Ashna, the recruitment manager of a media company thought she has hit the talent jackpot. Of 100 interviews over the phone and several rejected resumes of candidates, she had zeroed in on 3 who fit the bill of the role she was planning to close. And she did. Out of the 3, when it came to select one, Anshu and her team with the help of senior managers choose the one who showed spark and innovation with enthusiasm to work - Ranjeet. Little did they realise that even such rigorous selection, Ranjeet will lose the spark to work after a few days and in the first quarter of his work, his performance was underachieved.

What went wrong? It’s not about the wrong hire – since Ranjeet was evaluated at every scale and by every concerned person before coming onboard. The HR managers are usually held accountable for this – since the onus to hire the best talent falls on them. Moving on to address this challenge, the media company where Ranjeet got hired altered certain parameters and those changes bought a positive impact on how Ranjeet worked. So what steps did the company take to make this happen?

Let’s explore:

A proper direction

After the interview and the appointment, the company realised after assessing its own methods that Ranjeet was not given a proper direction about the extent of his role. An employee who joins an organization always looks to fit in and also expects to know about the company guidelines.  In a large organization, everyday there are numerous tasks given to different employees, and in this quest the ‘manager’ might overlook that the given task might have been completed before the stipulated time. The lack of direction post allocation of jobs – what to do and what are the next steps – creates problems. The employee might start to slack just because of this.

Challenge when they least expect it

The manager of Ranjeet’s team devised a strategy to make the latter’s work more exciting. He had to deliver a project on time – but in the pace that Ranjeet was operating, he could sense it would be impossible for him to finish it on time. He told Ranjeet that a similar project had come to him some years back, and he couldn’t deliver it on time. But he had full faith in Ranjeet that he will manage to finish it. Not only did this boost Ranjeet’s self confidence, he also realised he is far more important than he thought he is. There is no better way than a challenge. It stimulates mind and improves productivity.

Charting success through career progression graph

This is a leaf out of the direction process, but it’s slightly different than responsibilities of the current role. The need to show the career progression while recruiting has been adapted by various MNCs now. At the Total Rewards Conclave in February organized by People Matters, at a discussion panel, VP Human Resources India Region of PepsiCo had said how the company has started providing the career progression chart for all the employees at the time of their joining.

Rewards and recognition

Non-monetary ways of appreciating an employee go a long way to keep them motivated and also assist them achieve their goals. Most organizations do have team outings and appreciation boards. But what matters is the attitude whether the people are taking it as something that needs to be done or as a stress buster. Talking about informal things and then remembering that stuff to create discontent among team-members is a complete no-no. Appreciate to mean it – it not only boosts the morale of the person but also of the team.

There are other factors like unhindered communication from the manager to team-member and vice-versa, flexibility of work hours of employees – letting them choose the hours they want to work (although can be applicable to select few industries and roles), managing time when it comes to going on break during work hours – which enhance the workability of the employees in a positive way.

So what have you done to make your underachievers turn proactive workers? Share your thoughts with us!

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Life @ Work

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