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Lazy Employees: 10 Steps on How To Handle Them

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A great workforce is a mix of good employees coming together to work towards a common goal. Here, the individual contribution of every worker is crucial. All your employees must do their work properly to get the best result as a team. In this regard, lazy employees pose a big problem.

These are the workers that lack the drive and the will to do a job properly. Such low enthusiasm ultimately affects the results of the team. It can affect not only employee productivity but also team morale. This is so because, in some cases, this condition can be infectious as well.

Seeing you tolerate a lazy coworker will demotivate other team members as well. Slowly and steadily, even the rest of the team will begin to take their work lightly. So, you must handle the lazy employees in your company correctly for this reason.

Fortunately, it is not as hard as you may think, as we will let you know in this piece. So, here are ten steps on how to get the best out of your Lazy Employees.

10 Steps on how to get the best out of Lazy Employees

1. Meeting

First of all, you must have a private chat with your workers. It would help if you did not belittle them in front of the whole workforce as it may demotivate them even further. So, select a date and conduct a meeting with them.

Here, you should try to understand what is the cause of their below average performance. It can be a lack of interest, minimal growth opportunities, personal problems, etc. Knowing this will help you approach the matter objectively.

Related Article: How To Make The Most Out Of Virtual Meetings

2. Set Clear and Achievable Goals

In the meeting, you must set clear employee goals for your lazy coworkers. At first, you may be frustrated and throw them unrealistic goals to get the best out of them. You must avoid this practice.

In this regard, start slow so that the target is achievable. It is because when the workers complete the easy targets, it will give them confidence. This completion drives the positivity they need to push ahead.

Related Article: Tips For Setting Effective SMART Goals for HR professionals

3. Consequences

You should set some clear consequences against the targets as well. It because while the achievable target is positive reinforcement, consequences will be negative reinforcement.

Sometimes in the workplace, you need negative reinforcement to control workers.

This "controlling" aspect is a vital element you need to have while handling lazy workers in the early stages. While this may seem like micromanagement, you will require it at the early stages.

Examples of some of the consequences can be temporary pay cuts, employee demotion, transfer, etc.

4. Incentives

To balance things out once again, you should also offer lazy workers incentives to get the best from them. These incentives will be the employee motivation they need to succeed in their work.

Furthermore, the temptation of incentives alone is enough for a worker to push the limits for a good job. Here, you should consider proper rewards and recognitions as incentives.

5. Opportunities for Career Growth

Sometimes, the cause of laziness can also be the job itself. If employees work in a dead-end job, they might not be motivated enough to do it right. Therefore, you must have good career growth opportunities in place.

These opportunities will not only motivate them but also help them in their professional life. It is an element no individual in their right mind will pass up, no matter how lazy they are.

In this regard, you should have employee training and development, employee promotion consideration, etc, for better growth.

Related Article: E-Learning: The New Way Of Employee Training

6. Change of Work

Sometimes, a slight change of work can freshen things up as well. Chances are, a worker might face burnout due to doing the same task over and over again. This cycle of continuity makes the job boring leading to laziness.

To change things up, you can give your lazy workers some other work. In this regard, if you can match a job in their area of interest, that will be great. Here, you should know your worker's field of interest.

You can get your answers to this question with some employee surveys. One other way is also understanding the employee persona and matching a job accordingly, etc.

7. Follow Up

After all of these parameters are set, you should also have meetings for follow-up sessions. In this meeting, you should compare the goals with actual results to measure and improve performance.

Here, be sure to give effective feedback to employees for better results. If things go south, you should also offer constructive feedback and provide them with another chance to work harder.

Related Article: 5 Useful Tips On How To Give Constructive Criticism

8. Document Behaviour

If you get the best results after taking all the steps above, don't bother with the next two points. But, if you didn't get the outcome you were hoping for, you must ascertain what you must do next.

Regardless of the results, you should document this process for future reference. This document should state every detail from the first meeting to the follow-up session. It is necessary to ascertain the results of your efforts on how to deal with lazy workers.

9. Employee Disciplinary Actions

Nothing will kill a great employee faster than watching you tolerate a bad one.
‚Äď Perry Belcher

If you're not getting the desired results, you must opt for the harsh consequences. It means having a look at the employee disciplinary actions available. These can be suspension, demotion, pay cut, transfer, loss of privileges, etc.

Disciplinary actions may seem harsh, but it is necessary at times. It shows that the management won't tolerate inefficiency, which is a message every worker should know.

10. Last Resort

If all else fails, then you may have to throw in the towel and call it a day. It means looking for other options to replace the lazy employee. Sometimes, you can make a bad hire with terrible work ethics. What counts here is that you rectify the situation with a better hire to replace the lazy worker.

These were the ten steps you must take to handle a lazy employee.


Lazy coworkers can behave the way for many reasons. It may be that the work is boring, they lack interest in the field, etc. The bottom line is, their outlook can change for the better. It is up to you to know to approach and make them pull their weight themselves.

We hope with this piece; you got a fair idea of starting your rectifying process with unproductive employees.

This article is written by Jyoti Prakash Barman. He is an in-house Content Marketer at Vantage Circle with interests in music and automobiles. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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