Opinion News: How to motivate low performing employees

According to recent research by VitalSmarts, a training company for business leaders. high-performing employees are responsible for over 60% of the work completed in their offices and are considered much more valuable to their companies than regular employees. A little like the Pareto principle (where economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the population) – it seems every organisation has their high fliers. But how can you improve the performance of the ‘regular’ or sub performance employees?

Communication and organisation skills

When the managers of companies involved in the research study described the working habits of the high achievers, they said they had excellent communication skills and were highly productive. They also had good time management skills, were highly organised, and were proactive in asking questions about tasks.

When the same question was put to the managers about the low-performing employees, the descriptions included problems with lateness, lack of organisation, slow working, and lack of willingness to step outside their role and help in other ways due to being ‘busy’.

The poor working habits of the low performers resulted in them begin scored higher on the stress scale than the strong performers.

Reduced stress levels

Over 80% of managers thought their high-achieving employees were less stressed due to better working habits; in fact, it has been found that those with good productivity and work habits had stress levels 21 times lower than average, especially in relation to feeling anxious and overwhelmed. It seems that effective working practices make you more relaxed at work and better able to deal with issues as they arise.

The research has shown that sensible self-management techniques can reduce stress and increase productivity in the work place; performance can increase and stress can decrease with just a few small changes in behaviour and attitude.

Managers can use the findings to encourage a higher level of productivity, as it has been shown that being productive is not the same as being busy; in fact, they can sometimes work in the opposite way!

‘Busy’ might not mean productive

Employees can be very ‘busy’ without being productive if they spend time on unnecessary activities. Learning to manage a workload efficiently means the correct things get done on time and that time is not wasted on pointless tasks. This leaves the employee free to work on productive areas and ensures they feel fresher and less stressed.

Leading by example

It is important for managers and productive employees to encourage the right attitude and approach in all workers so that the weaker employees can improve; however, the top performers can only perform at their best if they are given the right leadership.

Managers need to lead by example by demonstrating efficient working habits; in turn, employees can use these techniques to complete their tasks efficiently and perform at a higher level. By encouraging good working habits, both the individual employee and the company will benefit.


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