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How to Deal With Slow Employees

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Working in management and keeping employees in line can often be a tough position. From employees who are chronically late to those who are simply not productive, getting everyone is line is up to you. If you are frustrated due to an employee who works so slowly that he is impeding your department's progress, then it is time to do something.

Establish deadlines. Slow employees sometimes are slow just because they do not have strict information regarding a desired completion time. Inform all of your workers clearly and directly about your expectations. When you assign them a project, make it 100 percent certain to them when you need it to be done. Leave no gray area or uncertainty.

Recruit someone to monitor the employee's working style. Get the help of a reliable colleague and have him spend a significant portion of the workday assessing the way your employee works. Ask your colleague to make notes regarding her time management. The more you understand about how your employee operates, the easier it will be for you to help her solve the problem.

Communicate with your slow worker. Privately discuss with your employee your concerns regarding his slowness. Offer your employee the facts about his pace. For example, tell him the average worker in the office completes 20 order per day, while he is only coming through with five. Address any concerns you have about his working technique. If he spends too much time talking on the phone, inform him that that is not acceptable. Come up with tangible solutions to help your employee increase productivity. For instance, tell him that he cannot spend more than 15 minutes on the phone every day. Another example is to assign another employee to temporarily help him until he gets into a good groove.

Give him some time to improve now that you have communicated with him. Keep track of his working patterns on paper during this time -- you may need the proof if you have to let him go. If you do not notice any improvements within a certain time period (typically a few months), warn him that if things do not quickly change, you will either have to suspend or terminate him. On the other hand, if you notice his pace improving, compliment him for his effort.

Tip

Be polite and motivating when you discuss matters with your employee. For all you know, she may not have even been aware of her slow working pace. Your kindness and understanding may push her to work faster in order to impress you.

Find out the underlying cause. If one of your employees is especially slow, there may be something going on in his life that is causing the problem. The problem could be anything from a health matter to a dissolving marriage. If you think this is the case, take the time to support your employee by listening to him talk and helping him come up with a solution, whether it's private counseling or undergoing an EAP (employee assistance program).

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