Productivity

How to Encourage a Slow Worker

Not all team members pump out work at the same rate. There are some on the team that have very fast turnovers and others that lag behind. Sometimes there is someone on the team that is very slow…too slow.

This can be a delicate situation because you don’t want to put more pressure on this person and cause even more delays. However, it’s a situation that should be dealt with in order to keep up productivity.

Here are tips to managing a slow worker on the team.

1. Don’t just give more work to faster workers

It would probably be easier just to give faster workers more tasks so that everything gets done. It’s crucial to balance your team’s workload fairly, or top performers will burn out. Though this is an uncomfortable situation, managing a team means tackling issues like this head on.

2. Tell the team member the problem and listen to their feedback

The first step is to tell the employee that he or she is working slowly. You can explain to them that project X should take two hours and project Y should only take thirty minutes and explain how long they took. Of course, this should not be done condescendingly, just in a matter-of-fact reporting.

Then, listen to their feedback. Perhaps the employee struggles because of a noisy office. Or, maybe they did not have the right tools to complete the project. It’s important to hear feedback because all of that will go into finding a solution.

3. Create a set of solutions together

This employee may need a bit more micromanaging, just at first. Depending on his or her response, create solutions to fix problems. For example, if there are too many distractions, use a tool to help.

Try a platform such as RescueTime or HeyFocus that can help the employee focus better. Offer a few different platforms to try since he or she may prefer one over another.

This employee may need a bit more micromanaging, just at first. Depending on his or her response, create solutions to fix problems. For example, if there are too many distractions, use a tool to help.

Try a platform such as RescueTime or HeyFocus that can help the employee focus better. Offer a few different platforms to try since he or she may prefer one over another.

You can also try creating more of a set schedule for that person. Instead of saying, Project X is due on Friday, tell them to work on it one hour each day, and they will have it done by Friday.

Alternatively, mark specific times to work on each project on their calendar. Talk with the team member to see which solutions they want to try. Don’t be discouraged if some of them don’t work; there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to finding the right solution.

4. Give them more work he or she likes

Talk to the employee about what projects he or she likes. Productivity might increase when working on an exciting project. Or, try to narrow down a skill set. For example, if the employee is an excellent writer, then give that person more writing tasks and try to offload other projects.

5. Set a clear schedule with deadlines

Make it clear that something should take a certain amount of time, and it needs to be done by a certain date. A clear, defined deadline may help make the person work faster. Especially when coupled with productivity tools, this tactic could get projects done quickly.

6. Work side by side on a project

If none of these tactics work, try working side by side with the team member on a project. Choose a task that should take one hour or so and work next to the person to complete it together.

If working remotely, have that person share their screen (and maybe choose a shorter project), and go step by step until the project is complete. Doing this, you may get a sense of why certain things take them longer than they should.

Alternatively, choose a project and show the person step by step how to do it and how long it should take.

It may take time to get a slow worker up to speed, but with dedicated attention, it can happen. Many managers want to offload project to other productive team members, but it’s important to nurture everyone on the team to create a high productivity level across the board.

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