How to Handle an Employee Who’s Losing Interest

You hired them with high hopes. At first, everything was great. You predicted superstar status. However, over time, things have started to change. Output has slipped. Engagement is down. The days of volunteering for overtime are long gone.

The team member you had once slated as a likely top performer hasn’t slipped to the bottom of the employee evaluation stack yet, but you have watched them slide from “great” to “average.”

How can you turn things around? How can you return your former superstar prospect to their original potential? Here are a few steps you can take to re-engage an employee who has started to lose interest:

Start a Dialogue

Don’t jump to conclusions. It’s easy to assume that a lackluster employee doesn’t care or doesn’t have enough initiative to engage in their work.

However, it might be more complicated. The issue might stem from an external factor, like a death in their family.

It’s also possible the slacking employee hasn’t recognized their fading interest. They may feel like they’re doing an adequate job and may not realize you expect more from them.

The cure for both these situations is a conversation. By talking to the employee, you can let them know your expectations and find out if there is an external (hopefully temporary) factor impacting their work. You can also chart a plan to get them back to the stellar performance you had previously expected.

Set Goals (And Offer Rewards)

It’s difficult to reach vague expectations. Without clearly defined goals, people tend to figure out their own benchmarks, which are probably less strenuous than what you’d prefer. Or they settle into a rut. Bottom line: It’s hard to have direction if you don’t know where to go.

Set clear goals for your floundering employee. Let them know what you expect from them, including quantifiable benchmarks and a detailed timetable. Meanwhile, offer rewards for achieving their targets, things like bonuses or days off.

The added incentives should spark their buried ambition. Hopefully, the strategy will work like priming a pump. Once they get back into an active flow, they’ll keep up the more energetic involvement on an ongoing basis.

Break Them out of Their Routine

A loss of interest may indicate a sense of boredom. If a potentially high-achieving employee gets stuck in a rote position without much engagement, they can grow listless.

This isn’t really a problem; it’s an opportunity.

Find ways to challenge your disengaged employee. Start with a small project without significant stakes, just to test how they will respond to a more difficult assignment. If they do well, you may have discovered a diamond in the rough.

Management becomes easy when you have the right workers to start with. Teaming with a recruiter like SmartTalent allows you to bring in people primed to become high achievers.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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