How to Handle an Employee Who’s Losing Interest


You come directly to work from your best friend’s marathon birthday party, and now you’re having a hard time concentrating on the TPS reports. You stay up late binging an entire season of The Office, and now your real-life office life has become a blurry haze. You’re slogging through the last day before a week-long vacation and you’ve developed the grown-up version of senioritis.

Point is: Everyone has blah days. Everyone has times when they are checked out from work and when they don’t perform up to their best.

As a manager, there’s not much you can do in those temporary situations. If an employee shows up without their fastball one day, you can just wait until they snap back to normal. It’s temporary. They will be back to their usual productive, efficient selves tomorrow.

But what if it’s not temporary? What if an employee loses interest in their job and they go into an extended slump?

Then you have to step in. The long-term blahs can metastasize and become a lingering problem. Lower productivity and a bad attitude become the norm. Meanwhile, the issue can spread to others, affecting the entire team.

There are some steps you can take to reinvigorate a lackluster worker. Here are a few ways to jump-start an employee who’s lost interest in their work:

Have a Heart to Heart

Often, a simple conversation can start the process of bringing a slacking employee back into the fold. There can be external factors hurting their performance (a sick parent, a bad relationship). Talking to them can make you aware of these personal issues and start the process of improving the situation.

If the problem is work related, talking to the employee can set the stage for change. They can air out their complaints, and you can work with them to bring their performance back up to expectations.

Find Them a Challenge

The day-to-day drudgery of the workplace can sap a person’s spirit. Doing the same tasks, over and over … it’s not surprising that some of the vim and vigor will eventually seep out of their performance.

The fix: something new. Find new tasks to engage a worker who has lost their enthusiasm. The task doesn’t need to involve a significant time commitment – just enough to break up the monotony and get them back on track.

Create Incentives

Nothing clarifies the mind like the chance for a reward. That’s the basic engine of the market economy. Why not use it to solve your motivation problem?

If a worker isn’t reaching your expected output, create incentives to encourage them to hit their goals. Bonuses, time off, small gifts, even just some public praise – accolades to keep an employee’s mind on the task at hand.

A Change of Scenery

We don’t mean shipping the checked-out worker to Siberia (though we understand the temptation). But sometimes interrupting a routine can pull a person out of a rut.

Detail them temporarily to another team. Send them to a conference. Suggest they take some vacation days. Get them out of their usual bubble for a period in order to snap them out of the doldrums.

Motivating employees becomes easy when you have great employees to start with. Working with a recruiter can help you staff up with qualified, self-starting workers who can keep their enthusiasm going day in and day out.

Contact DHR to find out more.

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