6 Tips for Handling the Slacker

Every company has one and every manager has had to deal with one at some point.  We are talking about the office slacker. Even if it is just one employee that is not pulling their weight, it can impact productivity, efficiency, customer service, and team morale.  The impact of this slacker is most often felt by their co-workers because they end up working harder to make up for the slacker’s laziness. This can leave employees feeling frustrated and angry, and a negative work environment is a huge office hazard.  Therefore, it is up to the manager to deal with this slacker before their performance ends up affecting the rest of the team and the organization itself.

Set Clear Expectations

Managers need to be clear about their expectations and it needs to be known that they will not tolerate anything less than 100 percent from every employee. This means employees are all held to the same standards and are expected to show up on time, work until the end of the day, complete their own tasks, and stay on top of their own work-load. Setting clear expectations right from the start is a good way to stop this problem before it arises.

Document the Employee’s Behavior

Prior to sitting down with a lazy employee, the manager needs to have evidence to support his/her claim.  Document specific behaviors such as showing up late, not completing a project on time, anonymous complaints from co-workers, or spending too much time on the phone or talking to coworkers. Documentation serves as proof of the employee’s laziness and can be used as a reference point during the discussion with the employee. It is also important to have proper documentation in case this problem persists and needs to be addressed with HR.

Have a Discussion

Schedule a face-to-face meeting with the employee to discuss their performance. Avoid confrontation if possible and do not start the conversation with accusations. Rather, gently remind the employee of your expectations and explain the ripple effect that their behavior has on the rest of the team. Be direct in stating that this behavior will not be tolerated and offer suggestions for improvement.

Be More Visible

Once the issue has been brought to your attention, it is up to you to be watchful and make sure the behavior doesn’t continue. Make it a point to interact with your entire staff. Discuss projects that they are working on, offer support, and provide helpful feedback. This allows you to keep a closer eye on that specific employee without singling them out and it also encourages the entire team to be more productive.

Provide them with New Challenges

Perhaps the lazy employee is actually the bored employee. When employees are completing the same tasks day after day, it is easy for them to lose interest. Try motivating the employee by assigning them a more challenging project. This might reignite interest and take your under-performing employee to new heights.