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5 Great Ways to Deal with Unproductive Employees

5 Great Ways to Deal with Unproductive Employees

Every company thrives on a motivated and engaged workforce. The 21st Century has brought many businesses an opportunity for expansion in their ways of working, and this mostly yields positive results. But what do you do when this plethora of choice diminishes employees’ ability to focus on the task at hand? 

While every business has its own approach to ensuring success, there are some tried and tested methods for increasing employee productivity that can result in a wide range of both long-term and short-term benefits. 

Technological innovation has emerged as a savior for employers who wish to gain greater insight into employee productivity covertly, so we will explore these solutions a little further.

1. Offer Constructive Feedback

Regular feedback can be a great way to increase employees’ performance, motivation, and productivity. Positive feedback has the power to increase long-term motivation and can make employees feel valued for their time and effort. Building long-term motivation through positive feedback can make employees more likely to perform well consistently, potentially for years to come. 

Validation is vital as employees want to be recognized as individuals with something unique to bring to the company — this can also increase employee satisfaction and by extension, their productivity. So it’s essential to reward the behavior you want to see demonstrated more often, and show employees why they are valued. A gentle reminder of their valuable contributions will inspire them to achieve more. 

However, when dealing with unproductive employees, there’s also a place for negative feedback. As well as commenting on what’s going well, talk about what’s not working so well. Negative feedback can encourage employees to repair their short-term performance. Try to be constructive and offer actionable feedback so that employees know exactly how they can improve their performance. This way, you should start to see a difference almost immediately. 

Offering constructive feedback is easier to do when you have detailed insights into employees’ performance, so make the most of any productivity monitoring tools, like Handdy Timesheets for example. When you can identify healthy working habits and unproductive practices, you can comment specifically on what aspects of an employee’s productivity are indicative of great performance, and which habits or behavior patterns are holding them back. 

2. Acknowledge Differences and Respond Accordingly

When analyzing the productivity levels of your team members, it’s important to acknowledge that every employee is different, and there may be valid reasons for some employees performing better than others. These differences should determine how you deal with unproductive employees.

For example, you might be more likely to award experienced, long-term employees a larger workload because you know they can handle it. Their experience means they’re able to take on more than their colleagues in the same amount of time. At the same time, you might lighten the workload of new employees so that they can develop their performance and gradually take on more tasks and responsibilities as they become more productive. It is always best to ensure employees feel their workload has been fairly distributed and reflects their talents.

If you notice some employees are demonstrating a significant lack of productivity, how you approach this will also depend on their unique situation. A new employee may need a nudge with regards to better time management, while other employees might have a habit of chasing social media dopamine fixes. If a drop in productivity is sudden and unusual, it may be that something else is going on outside of work. 

Being aware of the different factors that affect employees’ performance and tailoring your response to unproductivity based on employees’ unique situations can help you get to the root of the problem and tackle any issues effectively.

3. Get Visual Proof of Employees’ Activity

Keeping a closer eye on employees during the workday can help you tackle unproductivity. When employees know you’re paying attention to what they’re doing and how they’re performing, they’re more likely to strive for higher levels of performance and steer clear of bad habits that affect their productivity.

Tools like Handdy Timesheets make it possible to get visual proof of employees’ activity, without having to stand over them all day. This means that whether employees are in the office or working from home, you can still monitor what they’re doing during working hours. 

Handdy Timesheets takes a screenshot of all the tabs open on an employee’s screen, so any sneaky browsing for bargain buys on company time will be fed back to you straight away. 

It is an effective way of monitoring activity that allows you to keep tabs on their tabs during office hours, as screenshots are periodically taken and stored for you to see how company time is being spent. 

4. Monitor the Websites Visited by Employees

Similarly to offering visual proof of activity, Handdy Timesheets reveals a comprehensive list of which URLs were opened during office hours, and how long was spent on each URL. This allows you to determine whether recreational websites were left open in the background or used as a foreground focus for procrastination. 

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It may be the case that an occasional break is deemed acceptable in your workplace but you want to set stricter parameters of when these breaks are taken. Once you have seen which sites are being browsed on company time, you are better able to deal with a lack of productivity and ensure standards are maintained at all times.

5. Track Employees’ Keyboard Activity

While screenshots and URL tracking offer valuable insights into how employees are spending their time and what patterns might be affecting their productivity, these features of Handdy Timesheets don’t show exactly how productive an employee is throughout the day. That’s where keystroke movement tracking comes in. This Handdy Timesheets feature tracks how often employees touch the keyboard. 

This encourages employees not just to be working on the right things and avoiding distractions, but to be productively working and using their PC throughout the day. 

If employees aren’t using their keyboard, it might be that they’re away from their PC when they should be working, or potentially looking at their phone rather than their work. With more insight into employee activity, you can take relevant and effective action to improve productivity. 

Phone bans are implausible in today’s social climate but you can broach the subject of an employee’s poor performance and ask if they feel distracted by their phone or anything else. You can then help them put measures in place to stay focused on work.

With detailed productivity insights, you can also identify your best and worst-performing employees, and perhaps instill a healthy sense of competition by rewarding your star performers. 

The productivity monitoring features offered by Handdy Timesheets make it possible for you to transform your workforce into a beacon of productivity, and the best part is gaining premium access to these features only costs $1.72 per month. 

When employees know they are being monitored, a more conscious approach to working will take place that gives you better results for good. Start your free trial today to start seeing improved performance immediately.