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Tired of Work, Tired at Work: What to Do With Low-Performing Employees

When you’re trying to fill your insurance jobs, you look for employees who are at least solid and focused, if not the next superstars of your insurance office. You want to find hard workers who will be enthusiastic and deliver customer service that impresses your clients. What happens when these employees turn out to be low-performers instead? What can you do with a low-performing employee?


Does Your Employee Have the Ability to Succeed? 

Sometimes low performance is connected with motivation and dedication, but sometimes it is connected to the employee’s ability to do the job. For instance, if the position involves a lot of writing to clients and your employee is a slow or poor writer, this could be a challenging position for that person. You may have hired incorrectly or described the position poorly, so the employee didn’t realize that the position involved a skill that was outside of his or her areas of competence. If the employee is enthusiastic and skilled but not overly skilled in a particular area that is essential to that position, you can:

  • Find more resources to improve that individual’s competency at the job
  • Provide more training to that individual
  • Customize the job so that it is better suited to the person
  • Find a new position that better suits that employee’s skill areas

Sometimes, it is better to lay off an employee who is not at all able to do the position at hand. If you find that despite your efforts to support, retrain, and customize the position, the employee is not able to do the job, you could risk making your other employees’ positions more difficult. Releasing that person to find a new job that better suits his or her skills could prevent much frustration from the employee as well.


Is Your Employee Not Motivated? 

Sometimes, low performance isn’t connected to ability. Your employee is more than able to do the job, but he or she is not doing it well. Why is this the case?

  • Your employee doesn’t really know what he’s supposed to be doing. The position is unclear, and so is your work environment. This person needs help setting goals and working toward them.
  • The employee feels like she is working in a resource-poor environment. She doesn’t feel like you’re there to help if she has a challenge. Make sure that your employees know that there are resources available for them to use if they need some extra support.
  • Your work environment is less than motivational. Perhaps the individual feels like they do not have a lot of support setting goals or that there is little feedback about successes and areas for improvement. By increasing communication, you can improve motivation.
  • Your employee doesn’t feel like he is acknowledged or rewarded for improving your workplace. Make sure that you have formal and informal ways of acknowledging how much your employees contribute.


What About People Who Like to Underperform? 

If your employee is a chronic low performer, that person might also have a habit of doing as little as possible. According to Tim Sackett on LinkedIn , “they’ve figured out how to do the bare minimum, without getting fired, and you still pay them for showing up and continuing to give you low performance.”

In this case, it’s key to set expectations of the individual. Let that person know what the job entails, and give her the option of living up to those expectations. Provide the employee with regular, timely feedback about her performance. If that doesn’t change behavior, you always have the option of finding a new person who will shine in that role. According to Saba, “even with clear expectations and reasonable support, you may find that the employee can’t or won’t meet the target performance.”

Are you looking for staffing support? At American Agents Alliance, We’ve partnered with The Omnia Group, a behavioral assessment and employment consulting firm, to bring members of the American Agents Alliance the top talent you deserve. Let us work with you to improve the performance of your insurance company; contact us today.

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