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Susan M. Heathfield

Manage Your Deadbeat Employees

By February 22, 2014

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A reader said that while he liked my positive, upbeat outlook about employees and workplaces, it was not always possible to create a positive outcome with every employee. I did take his words to heart, but dealing with deadbeat, unproductive employees, who skate on the edge of your success-driven work systems, is not my favorite topic.

However, I promised him I'd share my best ideas for turning a deadbeat employee around or showing him the door. This article is the result of that conversation: How to Manage a Deadbeat Employee.

A deadbeat employee is an employer's nightmare. You know the occasional employee I am talking about. He doesn't show up for work, calls in sick, and milks the time off policy, always walking on the edge, but never falling off. He walks the edge of the work policies and processes, too.

He does just enough to stay employed but doesn't grow professionally nor contribute at the level of your other employees. He sometimes reaches his agreed upon goals but exhibits a general lack of enthusiasm. The hallmark of the deadbeat employee is that he is always walking on the edge between succeeding and failing.

I have interlinked this new article with earlier pieces I've provided about employee performance coaching, performance management and improvement strategies, and the process to follow to either help an employee improve or move on. I trust you'll find these helpful.

What do you do to manage deadbeat employees?

Image iStockphoto / Joshua Blake

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