A client recently asked me how to motivate an employee whose performance is lackluster. I made the distinction between motivation and inspiration: we can inspire the people who work with us, but motivation needs to come from within.
He was especially frustrated because he hasn’t been able to inspire this employee to perform at a higher level. He suggested that the employee’s work was about a B- level and he wanted to raise the quality.
People work for many different reasons, and some do the bare minimum because they see it as just a job. This is frustrating, especially for a proactive manager who wants to get the best from his or her staff. If someone works for the security of a paycheck and not much more, it’s difficult to get more out of them.
That said, here are some suggestions if you have employees who fit this profile:
– Don’t try to raise them from B- to A. Take it in smaller increments, such as from B- to B. During this process you may be able to learn more about what drives this employee.
– Find out what excites the person (presumably outside of work) and see if you can integrate aspects of this into the job.
– Tell the employee that your company expects people to perform at a certain standard, and that it’s higher than what s/he is doing. If that doesn’t result in a change, it’s probably safe to say that this isn’t a good fit for you or the employee.
You can’t take responsibility for changing someone, but you can take responsibility for not dragging it out longer than is appropriate. If it’s not working, it’s time to move on.
Have a great week!