For nearly three years, Tracy has been a wallflower. An employee who stands on the sidelines, does enough to not be recognized as a poor performer, but not quite enough to be praised and acknowledged. And she’s happy with that. She comes to work, does only what is expected, and heads home. Not having any stressors or responsibility at work is what she wants; an easy job that requires little effort and pays the bills. She has no desire to step up and participate in new projects or cross-training, and just wants to continue gliding along.

Tracy was a skater. We run across these types of employees in nearly every industry. The ones who do the bare minimum to meet expectations and not get into trouble, and are just biding their time until the next payday. They aren’t highly motivated, and lack a plan or a purpose in their career. This month we have been discussing how to remedy common “Hot Button Employee” types, including the employee who is always absent, and the know it all employee. How do you manage a skater?

Hold Employees Accountable – Some employees will simply never step up to the plate. By holding each member of your team accountable for responsibilities that are constantly new and changing, you will prevent stagnation and burnout. Additionally, encourage your team members to work out issues with accountability amongst one another which further builds a strong team dynamic.

Encourage Engagement – As a manager, it is your job to keep your employees motivated and engaged, as difficult as that may be at times. Three rules for encouraging effective motivation and engagement are: never ask others to do what you wouldn’t do yourself; provide your employees with feedback; and, encourage discussions about the good and bad aspects of their job.

Praise a Job Well Done – Particularly for those who are unmotivated, recognition is a huge deal. Praise your employees both publicly and in private and they will be motivated to repeat and build on their moment of excellence. All the perks in the world cannot make an employee feel as good as genuine praise and acknowledgment.

We have all experienced a Tracy, and frankly many of us have been in that type of position. Skater’s are in no way self-starters and most teams need go-getters to do their part in encouraging engagement and motivation. These employees will slip through the cracks if you let them, so be proactive with nipping mediocre behavior in the bud before it becomes a more serious issue.

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