Motivation is critical for an employee’s ongoing success in a role. When adequately engaged, workers are more efficient and productive. Plus, they’re often more enthusiastic and have higher job satisfaction, which boosts morale and enhances the company’s culture.

When an employee is unmotivated, they typically underperform their colleagues. Disinterest, frustration, or a lack of engagement hinder productivity and harm work quality, which is never ideal. As a result, managers need to seize opportunities to address issues correctly. If you need to motivate an underperforming employee, here are six tips to get you moving in the right direction.

1. Assess the Situation

Before taking any other step, spend some time assessing the situation. Is the lack of motivation a new problem for this employee? Has anything changed in the workplace that impacted the nature of their tasks or how they’re performed? Are you aware of any struggles outside of the workplace that are affecting the worker? Have you spent time outlining any expectations, or has that fallen by the wayside?

You may identify potential sources of the issue by answering questions like those above. This can give you talking points to present when you inevitably speak with the employee and ensure you’re reasonably compassionate as you do.

2. Schedule a Meeting and Speak Privately with the Employee

After your initial assessment, schedule a meeting with the employee to discuss their performance. This allows you to have the conversation privately and ensure you aren’t catching the worker off-guard with a serious discussion.

When you set up the meeting, consider referring to it as a “check-in” and not a performance evaluation. A decline in work performance due to a lack of motivation often has mental and emotional health components. Your goal should be to learn more about the employee’s struggles and how the company can help them overcome them.

3. Present the Reason for the Meeting, and Then Listen

Once the Meeting begins, let the employee know that you’re checking in because you’ve noticed uncharacteristic issues with their performance. Express concern for their overall well-being instead of focusing on productivity and work quality. This allows you to acknowledge that there’s more at play than simply underperforming, which reduces the odds that the employee becomes defensive.

Next, use active listening skills to learn more about the situation. Give the employee the floor, then paraphrase what they share to ensure you fully understand. If needed, ask clarifying questions to gather more information. With that approach, you’re more likely to discover the root cause.

4. Remain Empathetic and Solution-Oriented

As the conversation progresses, remain empathetic. Being supportive and understanding increases your odds of getting critical information and spurring positive change.

Also, stay solution-oriented. Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on finding ways to get the employee back on track.

5. Create a Plan Together

Work with the employee to find out what you can do to motivate and support them. Then, create an action plan together. This allows you to set clear expectations while getting input from the worker, increasing the odds that the resulting strategy will meet everyone’s needs.

6. Plan for Follow Up, and Celebrate Positive Change

After creating the plan, schedule follow-up check-ins at reasonable intervals. When those meetings take place, begin by celebrating any positive change. That sets a better tone, which gives the employee a mental and emotional boost.

Then, discuss if the next steps in the previous plan are still suitable. If so, the employee can proceed until the next follow-up meeting. If not, you can work with them to update the program, making appropriate adjustments that keep them on the right track.

Ultimately, the approach above is effective at motivating underperforming employees. If you’d like to find out more or need to fill a critical vacancy quickly, UCP can help. Contact us today.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for worker safety. PPE like goggles, hard hats, steel-toed boots, and similar items shield employees from specific workplace hazards, reducing the odds that incidents will cause injuries or deaths.

In many cases, PPE isn’t optional in workplaces. For example, requirements outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or state agencies make PPE mandatory in specific environments or roles that involve hazardous tasks.

As a result, companies must enforce the use of PPE to ensure safety. While many employees are highly willing to don PPE, others are resistant. If your organization is facing objections from workers, here are five tips that can help.

1. Lead by Example

First and foremost, ensuring company leaders, managers, and supervisors follow PPE requirements is essential. If those at the top are lackadaisical about PPE, employees may assume that the mandates aren’t particularly critical. Additionally, it makes enforcement harder since others are violating the rules. Any subsequent disciplinary actions for not following the PPE requirements breed resentment, harming morale and, potentially, retention.

Leading by example shows that employees at all levels are held to the same standard. Plus, it demonstrates that safety is a priority for company leaders and managers, as they’re openly following the rules.

2. Listen to Employees

In some cases, resistance isn’t about wearing PPE in general; it’s about wearing a particular piece of PPE. If the employer provides PPE, limiting workers’ options regarding what they have to wear, it’s possible that specific brands or sizes may not meet everyone’s needs.

Speak with resistant employees about why they don’t want to wear PPE. Find out if it’s a fixable issue of fit or comfort. That allows the company to identify problems and take action, ensuring everyone has PPE that helps keep them safe without hindering them unnecessarily.

3. Conduct Safety Training

Educating your workforce on the importance of PPE is critical, particularly when some employees are resistant to wearing it. They may shift their view by helping them understand the risks associated with not donning PPE. Additionally, outlining any related regulations is beneficial. That shows that the company is taking these rules seriously and lets workers know why company mandates are in place, which could make them more open.

4. Choose Simple, Effective Solutions

PPE comes in a wide array of designs. As a result, some are easier to put on, maintain, repair, replace, and clean than others.

Choose solutions that are easy to put on and wear, as that makes PPE less cumbersome. Additionally, if you’re using non-disposable PPE, ensure it’s easy to maintain, clean, repair, and replace. Finally, have a system for evaluating the non-disposable PPE, guaranteeing those that reach their end of life are returned promptly.

5. Enforce Policies Across the Board

Enforcement is a critical part of the equation but it must also be fair. Regardless of their position or tenure, every employee must be held to the same standards and face the same consequences. That shows that no one is exempt, which makes a difference.

Outline the PPE requirements, enforcement processes, and consequences for not following the rules in the employee handbook. Then, use that as a guide whenever there’s an incident, treating each worker, supervisor, manager, and company leader the same in regard to the rules. By doing so, you establish a single standard for everyone, which can lead to greater adoption.

Ultimately, PPE is critical for employee safety. Use the tips above to increase compliance, ensuring everyone is doing their part. If you’d like to learn more or want to fill an open job with a safety-conscious professional, UCP can help. Contact us today.

Few things derail a shift – and overall productivity – like no-call/no-show employees. The lack of notice makes adjusting to the absence in advance impossible. Plus, the ambiguous nature of these incidents leaves managers with additional questions, such as whether the employee is abandoning their job or if something terrible happened to them that prevented them from calling.

Additionally, figuring out how to handle a no-call/no-show employee is challenging. There are legal implications, making a difficult situation even more complex.

Fortunately, there are steps companies can take. Here’s a look at handling the no-call/no-show employee while staying on the right side of applicable laws and regulations.

Understand Applicable Laws Before Taking Action

The reasons for a no-call/no-show can vary. Some employees may abandon their jobs and choose not to inform their employer of their decision. Others might be unable to reach out due to an extreme illness, accident, injury, or situation out of their control.

Since specific types of absences entitle the employee to predefined protections, companies shouldn’t immediately move to terminate the employee. Instead, it’s best to reach out to determine if the incident involves an illness or injury that may entitle the worker to sick leave. Additionally, it’s wise to determine if the situation is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) before making formal decisions.

In some cases, there are state regulations employers must consider before proceeding with terminations or various forms of discipline. Review applicable local laws to determine what to examine before deciding on the worker’s employment.

Have a Formal Attendance Policy with Clear Requirements and Consequences

Formalized attendance policies give companies defined pathways for addressing no-call/no-show employees. Additionally, they serve as an official notification to workers regarding attendance expectations and any consequences associated with actions like a no-call/no-show.

Outline any requirements for using paid time off for planned and unplanned absences. Additionally, define what a no-call/no-show is, how the organization treats failing to come to work and notify the company of an absence.

Once you have the policy, add it to the employee handbook. Additionally, notify existing employees of the change with enough advance notice before official implementation to align with federal and local law.

Document No-Call/No-Shows and Follow the Attendance Policy for Consequences

When a no-call/no-show incident occurs, formally document it in the employee’s personnel file. Note the date it happened and when the employee was scheduled to arrive. Confirm that all call-in methods were checked for relevant messages, demonstrating that the company examined them before determining it was a no-call/no-show.

At that point, companies should attempt to contact the employee to discover why they didn’t arrive. Document these, including the date and time of any attempt, the phone number used to try and reach the employee, and what was said in subsequent voicemails or text messages.

After that, use the attendance policy as a guide to determine the next steps. That ensures all employees are held to the same standard. However, also keep the lines of communication open with the employee. Often, an ADA, FMLA, or similar protected scenario occurs, and the employee is initially unable to reach out due to the nature of the situation. In that case, they’ll contact the company as soon as possible. If that occurs, you can determine if other actions are now necessary, such as rolling back any consequences that were initially pursued.

Ultimately, using the process outlined above typically works for no-call/no-shows. Consult with HR, the legal team, and other experts to ensure your policies and procedures align with applicable laws.

If you need to replace a no-call/no-show employee, UCP can help. Contact us today.

Good communication is essential if you want an efficient, productive workforce. While many employees, managers, and company leaders will have little issue understanding one another, cultural and language barriers can hinder communication in the workplace.

Language barriers and cultural differences may lead to misinterpretations or misunderstandings. When these happen, confusion may occur, causing members of your workforce to take undesirable actions. It may also hinder the flow of information through a workplace or could even increase incidents of discrimination or harm inclusivity goals.

By understanding the types of language and cultural barriers present in your workplace, you can find opportunities to improve communication. If you’re battling cultural and language barriers, here’s what you need to know.

Cultural Barriers in the Workplace

Cultural barriers relating to communication usually involve specific types of core differences. For example, idioms and slang aren’t universal, and various hand gestures or body language may have varied meanings, so using them in the workplace can lead to misunderstandings. Similarly, while some cultures value blunt communication, others find it disrespectful.

Another common difference involves speaking up and volunteering ideas. In some cultures, actively contributing without an explicit invitation is deemed appropriate. In others, speaking up without being directly asked is impolite or rude, leading employees with those cultural backgrounds to avoid interjecting even if others do so during conversations.

In these situations, diversity training is often effective in helping avoid missteps that lead to communication challenges. By increasing awareness, your workforce can learn what to avoid to prevent miscommunications or other poor outcomes.

Language Barriers in the Workplace

Language barriers typically occur when the level of fluency varies within an organization. This is most common when some workers have a primary language that differs from those most frequently used within your company by other workforce members and for internal communications, such as memos, employee handbooks, and more.

Language barriers aren’t uncommon if you have a diverse workforce or operate internationally. Fortunately, it’s possible to accommodate these communication differences, leading to better communication. For example, publishing internal communications in several languages ensures the workforce understands information. Hiring interpreters or bilingual staff members with proven fluency in both languages can also help.

However, communication barriers can still occur in a workforce where everyone shares a primary language. Not everyone has the same communication capabilities. For example, the extent of one person’s vocabulary may be above or below other workforce members.

Ensuring straightforward communication can help organizations overcome language barriers relating solely to skill-level variances. Keeping the information simplistic makes it easier to ensure that everyone understands the core message.

Finally, certain language-oriented conditions or disabilities can impact communication. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia can make communicating difficult in various ways. The same applies to auditory, language, and visual processing disorders, along with other conditions.

With conditions like those, employers are typically required to make reasonable accommodations based on the requirements outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Often, speaking with the employees to determine how best to meet their needs is wise, along with offering disability diversity training to all staff members to improve awareness and ensure everyone’s doing their part to facilitate better communication with every employee.

Ultimately, cultural and language barriers can impact communication, but the tips above give companies critical direction to overcome them. If you’d like to learn more or need to fill an urgent vacancy, UCP can help. Contact us today.

Regarding workplace safety, most company-provided training focuses on proper equipment operation, safe lifting techniques, wearing needed personal protective equipment (PPE), and other task-oriented points. While these are undeniably critical areas to cover, they don’t discuss the need for employees to take action if they see something unsafe. As a result, there’s a dangerous blind spot that can increase the odds of accidents.

By including training on how employees should act if they notice unsafe behavior or situations – regardless of whether it impacts them personally – workers can help prevent accidents. If you want to ensure your safety program addresses this need, here’s what it needs to include:

Clear Support and Commitment from Management

Generally, employees are far more likely to take safety seriously if management is openly committed to it. It’s a situation where leading by example is essential, as a cavalier approach to security from company leaders leads workers to assume it isn’t as vital as they’ve been told.

Appropriate Points of Contact and Reporting Options

If you want employees to speak up if they see a hazard or unsafe action, they need a set mechanism for reporting issues. This should include designated contact points on the floor, letting them know who to turn to for urgent needs. A reporting portal or hotline is also beneficial for workers needing to remain anonymous.

Unsafe Condition Reporting Training

Broadening your safety training to include instruction on unsafe condition reporting is essential. Even if you implement the appropriate portals or hotlines, informing workers of their existence and explaining how to navigate them is critical. Otherwise, employees may not know their availability or how to submit a report correctly.

Similarly, informing them of their primary contact points – including who they are and how to reach them quickly – is essential. Again, this ensures there isn’t any confusion about what to do when safety issues are identified.

Continuous Awareness

Safety training annually isn’t enough to keep employees safety-conscious. Instead, continuous awareness needs regular reminders, increasing the odds that workers remain vigilant.

One easy way to incorporate safety into daily conversations is to discuss relevant issues at the beginning of daily standup meetings. That’s also an excellent time for managers to discuss recent safety successes, such as accident-free milestones or how a worker’s actions eliminated a hazard.

Accident-Free Workplace Incentives

With an accident-free workplace incentive, you reward employees for doing their part to maintain a safe work environment. Along with increasing personal compliance with safety requirements, it gives them a definitive reason to take action when they witness something unsafe.

It’s common for companies to assume that protecting their coworkers provides enough of an intrinsic reward to keep employees engaged in workplace safety. The issue is that the concept can feel ambiguous or nebulous, as workers won’t know if their actions make a difference. With an accident-free workplace incentive program, the benefits are highly-defined, increasing engagement.

Ultimately, incorporating everything above into your safety program allows employees to help keep their workplace safe. If you’d like to learn more or want to hire safety-conscious professionals, UCP can help. Contact us today.

Managing an underperforming employee is often challenging. However, it’s far easier to get results by asking the right questions. When a leader asks a question, the worker reveals more about their mindset, difficulties, motivation, or sources of uncertainty. As a result, it’s far easier for leaders to determine appropriate corrective actions.

While many questions can potentially deliver positive results, some are more effective than others. Here’s a look at four questions excellent leaders ask underperforming employees and why they work.

1. Do You Understand What’s Required and When It’s Due? If So, Can You Please Outline It for Me?

In some cases, poor performance by an employee isn’t due to a lack of engagement or a subpar skill set. Instead, it’s spurred by a misunderstanding regarding what is required of them or an initial miscommunication from a manager or colleague.

This two-part question is designed to ensure the underperforming employee is clear on any expectations regarding their duties. It’s a chance for leaders to identify potential misalignments or notice signs of confusion. Then, they can clarify points as needed, giving the employee better direction to get them on the right track.

2. Do You Know Why This Task Is Critical?

Sometimes, a lack of employee motivation results from not knowing why a task matters to the big picture. If a duty seems meaningless or inconsequential, workers may put it on the backburner or give less than their total effort.

With this question, leaders can determine if the “why” behind the “what” is either unknown or misunderstood. It also helps create opportunities to clarify the importance of the activity, allowing the employee to see the consequences of falling short when handling the task. As a result, it lets the leader provide a source of motivation, which can lead to more robust performance.

3. Are You Fully Equipped to Handle the Task, or Is Something Missing?

It isn’t uncommon for an underperforming employee to want to excel but not have everything they need to do so effectively. Maybe they’re missing a critical skill or piece of information. Perhaps they don’t have the right tool, system access, or support to manage the task.

This question allows leaders to learn more about what’s potentially holding an employee back. It could show that additional training, new tools, increased access, or other steps are necessary to ensure workers have what they need to thrive.

4. Have You Encountered Barriers That Are Hindering Your Success?

While this question seems similar to the one above, it creates opportunities to learn about issues beyond the employee’s capabilities, available tools, and level of access. For example, a worker may reveal that they aren’t getting necessary information from a colleague promptly, and the employee lacks the authority to resolve the issue.

Essentially, this question opens the door to discuss other hurdles that impact the employee but don’t have to do with their capabilities directly. As a result, it’s a wise addition to the conversation, creating more opportunities for supportive action.

The four questions above can help leaders address issues with underperforming employees. If you’d like to learn more or need to hire competent candidates for your open position, UCP wants to hear from you. Contact us today.