Turn a Slacker to a Star Employee through Coaching

Meeting in the Office

There are rare occasions where you can hire a ‘perfect’ group. In reality, this doesn’t happen to everyone, not even Fortune 500 businesses can hire perfect employees. If you stumble upon a really high-performing crowd, you’re probably the luckiest employer in the world. Because no matter how tough your screening process may be to hire people, there will always be instances that you employ the wrong person.

How do you know he or she is not fit to work for you?

People who apply for work will always put their best foot forward. This holds true until the end of the so-called probationary period. This is the time when their employment evaluations decreases from a monthly basis to a quarterly basis. And this is when their real attitude comes out. In some businesses, there are no probationary periods, so the “real” performance or attitude of the employee comes out sooner.

Occasionally, you may see work slips up, or slight tardiness, and even inexcusable absences. Should you opt to exert your patience, some or a few of your employees will abuse it. There will be a gradual fall in their performance and a huge decline in their interest at work. Soon enough, it will be pretty obvious that this specific employee is only waiting for his paycheck. This person, is commonly known as a slacker, and they’re generally a pain to work with.

So what should you do with this ‘slacker’? Fire him? Transfer him or her to another department? Fortunately, there are many options in dealing with slackers. Your choices are not limited to firing him or sending him off to affect another team.

Coaching- the Antidote for Slackers

The most important thing that you should consider is the business’ need. Naturally, any office or business wouldn’t need someone who will drag everyone else down, right? However, as much as you would want to get rid of this person, legally, you can’t just fire somebody. So what are you supposed to do? Coach him!

One way to straighten out any employee’s performance or attitude problem is through coaching. And when I say coaching, I mean one-on-one coaching and not the I’ll-humiliate-you-in-front-of-the-team coaching. Your employee may be a bit resistant or stubborn at first, but through constant coaching sessions, you’ll see that there’s still hope for his performance after all.

Coaching strategies will allow this member to explore the reasons why he’s working and how his role at your company can help him with his long term goals. Try asking these questions:

  1. What are your goals in life?

  2. What are your reasons for working?

  3. What are the factors affecting my work performance?

  4. How do I handle stressful conditions or situations?

  5. Why the sudden change in pace?

  6. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  7. What do you want to change in this company?

  8. What do you want to make for yourself?

Asking these questions during coaching sessions will give you a better view of your employee’s perspective in work and life. It will also give you chance to address his work related problems, which are often the reason for his poor performance. By making it clear that his performance is greatly depreciating, and helping him understand how his role affects the company as a whole, you stand a greater chance at improving his performance and renewing his vigor to work harder and improve.

Understanding the Needs of a ‘Slacker’

I understand that you’re probably saying, “Why should I? I’m the boss. Let’s just get rid of that person” Again, legally, you are bound to exhaust all means before you can get rid of this ‘slacker’. Besides, the efforts spent in hiring and training an employee are far too substantial, compared to what you can gain by just firing him.

In business strategies coaching, you should place high-performing guys in the front line. Through coaching, you can put the ‘slacker’ in the front line. (You’re also probably saying: What? Are you crazy?)

Understand this: a person innately seeks attention and recognition in everything he or she may do. Placing this ‘slacker’ in line with the best performers in the job can actually turn everything around. This can pressure him or her to do well and perform even better. If he doesn’t get pressured, putting him in an environment with performing employees will teach him their techniques and strategies. In essence, it will teach him how the performers work and how they can do things quickly. Either way, this will still be a win-win situation for your company.

With this we are solely relying on the principle that nobody wants to look bad. With proper monitoring and constant guidance, this ‘slacker’ may just turn out to be your top performing or high-selling employee.

To learn more about how coaching is proven to improve motivation and productivity at work, download the free white paper.​

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Paul Bailey

Paul is a highly experienced Business Coach, Mentor and Personal Development Specialist. He works with people to enhance business and personal performance through a process of supported self-awareness and self- development. Paul is the Co-Author of the book 80 Tips.