Quick Tips: Breaking Bad Employee Habits

Though the workplace is constantly evolving, some things never change. According to a recent report by Express Employment Professionals, soft skills – intangible qualities like reliability and motivation – are more important than hard skills, which are quantifiable, demonstrable qualities like education and experience. In fact, comparing hard skills to soft skills, 69% said they were more important compared to 31% of respondents who said hard skills are more essential. With an emphasis on employees’ intangible qualities, we at Refresh Leadership wanted to look into how to help current employees who may be lacking in these fields – or who have even developed some bad habits. Check out these quick tips on breaking bad employee habits!

Encourage New Habits

Sometimes the best way to push out bad habits is to encourage your employees to develop new ones. According to the Express survey, 65% of employers said dependability and reliability are the most important soft skill. Obviously, you need to be able to count on your employees to step up and be ready when an important project comes up. Consider giving your employees more responsibility and free rein over an assignment or venture and allow them to be creative with their approach. Sometimes when employees don’t feel trusted or valued, they become disengaged, causing them not to be dependable. Use this opportunity to show how much you value them and why you brought them on your team to begin with.

Team Up With Top Performers

Being motivated is key to high productivity, and 47% of employers value it as the most critical trait. If you have an unmotivated worker, his or her bad habits of showing up late to meetings, not being actively involved in brainstorming sessions, or not coming up with new, innovative ways to help the company may be resolved by teaming them up with one of your top performers. Whether it’s with the energetic, yet low man on the totem pole or the aggressively successful director of your department, letting your employee who’s struggling with poor working habits collaborate alongside your top talent could prove to be the shot in the arm that team member needs to get back some mojo. This scenario could be played out in a mentorship setting or a team project structure; but either way, this is a great way to let some good employee practices push out a few bad ones.

Open Communication

The more direct approach is to simply speak to your employee about certain bad habits you’ve noticed. Because most habits may be caused by disengagement, it’s important to get to the root of the issues. The Express survey also showed that 41% of employees value verbal communication the most, so talking through issues could be very advantageous. Be sure to explain what you’ve noticed from your employee lately and how it contrasts with their attitude when they first joined the team. Don’t forget that talking through certain issues can sometimes be confrontational, so consider bringing in one of your HR team members to assist in the conversation. Be straightforward yet encouraging; sometimes a little wake-up call can turn the tides.

Breaking bad employee habits may seem daunting, but by embracing these quick tips, you can ensure a more productive and engaged workforce.  How have you dealt with bad employee habits in the past? Have any insightful information we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!

One Response to Quick Tips: Breaking Bad Employee Habits

  1. Sarah Elkins July 30, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    Some bad habits are coming from your supervisor, which makes breaking them even more delicate. A colleague of mine called it “managing up”. When I had a micromanager, the answer was to let her micromanage. I went to her with EVERY DETAIL, letting her know how I intended to handle things, asking for her guidance, keeping her informed of progress. I went way beyond my normal communication. At some point it became distracting for her and she told me I didn’t need to come to her with so many detailed reports. I was able to ask, at that point, exactly what qualified for her review, which forced her to really think about what she wanted to manage in my work, and to what extent she needed to manage it.

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