Lazy Employees - How to Deal With Lazy Employees?

Uncategorized Apr 04, 2019

Who they are: How do you deal with lazy employees? There are laid back employees and then there are just lazy employees; a laid back worker will do the work in their own relaxed way while a lazy worker will do everything they can to avoid the work in the first place. If you want a happy and productive workforce, you will have to take the latter to task. Lazy employees not only shirk responsibility – they might have to do some work otherwise – but they also lack initiative and get-up-and-go. Unless it’s getting up and going for coffee, that is!

Lazy employees may very well spend an inordinate amount of time doing coffee runs, browsing the internet or taking extra time at lunch. They probably think that you won’t notice. But of course, as they spend time away from the real tasks at hand, deadlines are being missed, money is being lost and other members of staff become resentful at having to cover for this lazy employee.

What to do:

  • Before you tackle it directly with the person concerned, collect your ammunition. Keep a precise track of their comings and goings; make a written note of how long they take for lunch and how many coffee breaks they have, and for how long. Keep a detailed record too of any work that is impacted negatively by the employee – is the fact that they are rarely at their desk or their post hindering someone else’s role, for instance? Are any deadlines being missed or discreetly moved back? Keep a record of all and then consult with the employee.
  • Show them your notes and ask for clarification on the problems at hand; let them know up front that you have concerns about their performance and if they do not improve, they may well lose their job.
  • Be prepared to point out to them exactly how they should have done better so they cannot claim that they didn’t know for the future.
  • Give the lazy worker a kick up the backside by setting specific goals and targets with deadlines that cannot be missed; follow up on every target. Warn them that their job may be at risk if they do not complete each task in the manner you have specified upfront. Encourage the employee to operate a priority task list and stick to it. Arrange a time to review the employee’s subsequent performance. If you see an improvement, praise them. The boost in morale might be just enough to see them continue to make an effort.
  • If they haven’t improved, however, there may not be anything else for it but to terminate the lazy employee, always making sure that you follow the correct protocols and legal requirements, of course.

Let’s visualise the opening to a dialogue between a manager and the lazy employee. In this case, the employee, Sarah, has already been spoken to several times about her behaviour. This is now make or break time for the employee’s future in the company.

Manager: Thank you for agreeing to this meeting, Sarah. As you know I’ve spoken to you about your job performance several times before. We’ve discussed why you weren’t able to complete your projects on time and on each occasion you have given me a different reason.

The problem we have, Sarah, is that other employees do manage to complete their work without the excuses you state. They do not seem to have the same issues or concerns. The excuses may seem reasonable to you, but the fact that no one experiences these same problems should tell you that there is something wrong here.

This work has to get done without the excuses. I would love to keep you here but I can only do that if your performance improves. I will evaluate you again in two weeks and if I don’t see a dramatic improvement, I will have no option but to begin termination procedures to end your time here at the company. If your work does improve, however, you will be given the chance to stay on here provided that the standard of your work stays consistently high.


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