3 Effective Methods To Turn Around Struggling Employees Before Cutting Your Losses

Nothing is more contagious than a bad attitude!

Under-performing, unmotivated, and stressed-out employees can quickly become an organizational liability. Not only do they hamper a firm’s growth while occupying a seat that is not used to maximum potential , but the biggest danger lies in them potentially demoralizing  fellow team members.

As a manager or senior executive, you have two choices to resolve this situation; either help the lackluster employee get back on track, or let them go. The decision between the two options may seem daunting, but we’re here to help.

Read on to learn the 3 most successful turnaround methods to save a floundering employee.

1)   Identify the Gaps

Gap identification is the most important first step that you should focus on to help you enhance employee motivation across the board. You have to understand the deficits in order to rectify the problem. Learning the key cause of employee dissatisfaction can often be enough to recover and improve performance and results.

Invest time in identifying employee-marked performance barriers. Don’t overestimate a team’s performance just by metrics; dive deeper to learn what the staff thinks and wants, and most importantly, what drives them.  Gap identification can be best identified using clear, direct communication.

Open new lines of easy two-way interaction to spot and crush derailment before it turns into engrained behavior issues.

Quarterly Stay Interviews are a terrific way to catch issues early.

2)   Invest in Training & Development Activities

Sometimes, all a struggling employee needs is some motivational, inspirational, and technical training. Modern-day companies are heavily investing in training and development sessions.

Career development is a key strategy to identify and promote desire &  talent among the workforce, which always pays big dividends.

Managers will typically see increased employee satisfaction ratings, higher team cohesiveness and overall performance gains by focusing on defining clear metrics and offering support in obtaining those goals.

Hold individuals as well as teams accountable for their numbers, and consistently offer ‘coaching corners’ i.e. training sessions to refine and develop additional skills.

The consistent messaging should be that you want to invest in your workforce to create a career path that they can advance into.

Inspect What You Expect!

People want to feel like they are growing within their career, so make it easy for them to increase their knowledge base.

3)   Create A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

For legal as well as ethical reasons, it is always important to give someone the opportunity to improve, as long as the liability of giving them another chance does not outweigh the benefit of trying to rehabilitate them.

Determine an appropriate plan of action in conjunction with senior managers, HR managers as well as your struggling employee.

These should include daily, weekly and monthly goals. There should be clear cut ramifications for missing any of the deadlines, with no room for surprises.

Create a PIP after taking the following steps:

  • Identify substantial performance issues as the foundation for PIP
  • Check if the team lead has been active in improving the employee’s performance or not
  • Talk to the executives to uncover the impact of a formal PIP
  • Check if the employee was trained adequately to succeed; otherwise, a PIP will not be fruitful
  • Encourage employees to come forward, self-report issues, and suggest improvement techniques candidly

Employee behavior turnaround strategies should be focused on improving their performance and thought process.

In the event the employee is not willing or able to improve their performance, then termination is the logical next step.

How Can ISC Help?

Having a solid bench of backfills for struggling employees is a game-changer, for multiple reasons.

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

That translates into investing the time & energy to give both the employee as well as the hiring manager the ability to say in hindsight that they did everything that they could to  salvage the working relationship into a productive one.

In tandem with those efforts, smart companies reach out to their executive recruiters, in order to explore their options. Knowing that they have a backfill  empowers managers to pull the trigger and take the first step into top- grading their team.

Since 1999 ISC has been providing top talent to our Clients across the US. We invest in literally every high-tech tool available to allow us to strategically target and deliver exceptional candidates to our Clients interview tables.

We employ a robust search methodology, and the fact that our team of veteran executive recruiters are the #1 most recommended search firm in the US speaks to our abilities to introduce top-performing talent as well as our exacting levels of customer service.

Contact ISC today to learn more about our executive recruitment services.

Find out more about our proven track record to get started!

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Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of ISC and can be reached at  or  via direct dial at 888-866-7276.

Carolyn McClendon is a Senior Executive Recruiter with ISC and can be reached at  or direct dial at 888-974-0086.