WORKPLACE / DEC. 23, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Support Discouraged Employees

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As a manager, it is important that you constantly mentor and support your team so that it operates effectively and everything at work runs smoothly. With this being said, as a manager you have to be able to spot the problem and provide a solution before the issue gets worse or even affects more employees.  

But who’s the discouraged employee? How can you identify an employee who needs additional support? Part of being an effective leader is showing your ability to recognise discouraged employees and your willingness to help them. So if you notice that some of your employees are not performing the same way they used to, it means that something’s wrong. That’s when you need to observe your employees and investigate the matter a bit further.

Perhaps you have noticed this person has made complaints about not enjoying work as he used to, about being overwhelmed in terms of his workload or he is often questioning the value of tasks he performs on a daily basis. If you look a bit closer, the root of the problem might not be in the nature of the job, instead it might be an issue that troubles your employee on a more personal level.

So if you want to help your discouraged employees, here’s what you can do:

#1 Define the problem

First and foremost, find out why your employee is experiencing these emotions. Did something happen at work? Was he involved in any conflict? Pick a quiet time and can call him in your office to discuss what’s going on in private. Alternatively if he doesn’t feel comfortable talking it over with you, you could ask someone from the Human Resources department to handle the situation.

#2 Reduce their workload 

If your employee is going over through a rough patch you can reduce his workload for a while. If this is impossible you can at least make it more enjoyable by varying it. It might be helpful if you allocate your employee different tasks than usual. This will help break his work routine, since he is going to try out new things and keep himself more engaged in the workload.

#3 Improve motivation with competitions

An excellent way to ensure your employees will keep themselves motivated is introducing weekly or monthly competitions where each winner gets a prize. So, if your employees lack confidence or courage these competitions will definitely lift their spirits as they will do their best to get the award.  Whether the prize involves cash bonus, a performance certificate or an airline ticket to their favorite destination, it’s up to you to decide.

#4 Encourage employees to talk to you

Say something about yourself and possibly refer to some problems you also had to overcome in the past. This will give your employee more courage to come back to you and discuss what’s currently troubling him. Likewise let everyone know at which times you are available to meet and reassure them they can talk to you whenever they need any help.   

Supporting a discouraged employee doesn’t only help the individual, but also benefits the rest of the team. What’s important is to keep employees happy and motivated and always be open to discuss anything that seems to be troubling your employees.

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