Know how to identify an unproductive employee and how to help them improve

Know how to identify an unproductive employee and how to help them improve

Table of Contents

With the high competitiveness of the current market, productivity it is one of the biggest concerns for companies of all sizes in the most diverse segments. But how do you identify an unproductive employee and what can you do to help him perform better?

First, you need to understand that it's possible increase the productivity of its employees, in the most diverse ways. For this, it is necessary to identify the problems and use motivation techniques that will promote professional development and more engagement at work, increasing the company's profit.

In this article we will detail the main features of an unproductive employee and also what to do to motivate you and help you perform well. See below for a summary of content that you will find here:

Main characteristics of the unproductive employee:

  • Demotivation;
  • Excessive overtime;
  • Too many complaints;
  • Lack of personal development;
  • Focus on repercussions, not objectives;
  • Fear of making mistakes;
  • Many apologies and little result;
  • Procrastination;
  • Transfer of responsibilities;
  • Everything goes through the boss;

What to do to motivate you:

  • Take care of your team;
  • Give autonomy;
  • Give confidence;
  • Offer training;
  • Offer opportunities;
  • Ask for and listen to ideas;
  • Worry about professional development;
  • Promote collaboration.

To know how to do it all, stay with us until the end and have a good reading!

Tips for identifying an unproductive employee

Employees who do not perform their activities properly and do not deliver the expected results often present similar characteristics. See the main ones.


Demotivation is a sum of negative attitudes that affect the employee's income. An employee will not be productive if he does not care about the company and the results that his productivity can bring. After all, being productive takes work.

Often, demotivation can also be caused simply because the employee does not fit properly in the vacancy what you were hired for.

Excessive overtime

It is difficult to identify when overtime they are an indication of the lack of productivity of an employee. One idea is to analyze how much time it would take to perform a given task, add 30% to the total time and see if the professional is within this margin of tolerance.

Otherwise, excess overtime may mean that the employee is being unproductive.

Too many complaints

No matter why someone is complaining or to whom, complaints usually mean that the person don't want to take the trouble to solve the problem.

It is always a waste of time, and it is much easier to complain than to be productive. Productive people simply do their job.

Lack of personal development

This usually happens when a collaborator get comfortable in your job. It may be that he is doing what is asked without making excuses and even solving the problems himself and doing his job properly.

However, if the employee does not endeavor to develop professionally and grow in career, work can become routine. Being productive is also about learning new skills and being constantly evolving.

Focus on repercussion, not goals

This is a clear sign that the employee don't care about your job, only with the credit you can receive. Thus, it only shows productivity in activities that can have a positive impact with superiors, without worrying about the company's objectives.

Fear of making mistakes

An unproductive employee is usually very afraid of making mistakes, always finding excuses for not doing a certain task. However, this attitude can be related only to the lack of confidence and a certain perfectionism, the role of the leader being to know how to guide him in the best way.

Many apologies and little result

If it is not a lack of confidence and fear of making mistakes, the excess of excuses and barriers for not performing a certain task is a clear sign of unproductiveness. At productive people do not get stuck in the first problem that shows, they find a way to do.


This characteristic goes hand in hand with excuses and demotivation. Most of the time, the employee leaves something for later out of necessity, but sometimes you can notice that the person is acting as if the tasks were not important and could wait.

If this starts to repeat itself, it can become a determining factor of unproductivity, so it is good to always be aware of this detail to identify an unproductive employee.

Transfer of responsibilities

Delegating tasks is important, but it is common for unproductive employees to be in the habit of transferring their responsibilities to their co-workers.

If projects are being delivered on time, usually no one asks who did what, and this behavior can go unnoticed.

Everything goes through the boss

Many unproductive collaborators are in the habit of consulting their superiors more than necessary. This can happen because the employee expects the boss to do the job for him or her. delivered to someone else, usually due to the excuses the employee made.

Another possibility is again the lack of trust, when the employee does not feel capable of carrying out the activities alone. In any case, this attitude causes unproductiveness and must be combated.

How to motivate employees to be more productive

Motivating employees is one of the things that seem easy in theory, but can be very challenging in practice. A company has different professionals, from different areas and with different goals, and everyone has good days and bad days.

Fortunately, there are some techniques that can be used to help with this in different situations. See some practical tips to help motivate your employees and improve your results.

Taking care of the team

Let's start with the basics. Always offer salary and corporate benefits compatible with the market, promote a pleasant working environment and an organizational culture without toxic behavior, which encourages employees to perform at their best.

Offer a clear career path, with different levels for each position and specific goals to be achieved in order to progress. So your employees will always feel motivated to achieve their highest productivity and get the best results for the company.

Give autonomy

Making your employees feel free to do their jobs has a gigantic impact on your productivity. One of the things that most takes away motivation is the fear of making mistakes, and when the boss gets on top of the professional he ends up taking his confidence even further and making the problem worse.

Get combine responsibility and freedom it is one of the main characteristics of the manager who knows how to motivate his team to increase productivity.

Give confidence

After identifying the problems that lead the employee to unproductivity, it is essential to call him for a conversation and offer paths for him to present better results at work. It is necessary to demonstrate confidence and give clear guidelines so that the employee feels valued and can perform his / her best.

Offer training

How professional development, the employee may start to have a more productive routine of work. In addition to academic study, a simple productivity course can often show ways to perform tasks more effectively.

Offer opportunities

Before firing the employee, it is always advisable to offer opportunities for him to adapt his behavior. Is very cheaper and simpler for the company to correct the route of an unproductive employee than to fire him.

Think about the costs associated with the process of firing, recruiting and selecting another employee, in addition to the problems caused by the accumulation of functions while the vacancy is not filled.

However, if the employee remains unproductive, he should not be kept in the company, for not hinder the productivity of your colleagues of work.

>> Taking advantage of the reflection, know also what is the real cost of losing talent. <

Asking and listening for ideas

When they feel valued, their employees will be motivated and engaged in search of the best results for the company. For this, it is always good to hear what your team has to say, asking for ideas and especially listening to these ideas and trying to apply them when relevant.

This is a great way to show the value of employees and their work for the company, making it clear that they help directly in growth from the company. One of the best ways to maintain your talents is to efficient communication with leadership.

Worry about professional development

Employees will be more motivated if they feel they are evolving in their careers. Having a professional objective is very important for productivity, and it is sometimes the role of the manager to ensure that all employees of the company have this vision.

In addition to talking to your team about this, it is also important to act and promote employees to levels compatible with your performance and company time. Thus, everyone will feel motivated to do their best to reach the top of the career path.

Promote collaboration

Collaboration between employees is fundamental for greater productivity. Often, just changing the layout of the office to an open concept, where everyone can chat and exchange ideas more easily, already makes a huge difference.

In addition, with mutual collaboration between all, problems are more easily resolved without leadership interference, which has more peace of mind to deal with strategic issues.

In the end, it's all about respect

THE respect it is the biggest motivating factor in a company, in the end it all comes down to that. The more personal, respectful and welcoming the relationship between the company, through leadership, and employees, the more involved and engaged they will be.

These are some ways to identify unproductive professionals and take action so that inappropriate behaviors are corrected before an eventual dismissal, which is more laborious and costly for the company, in addition to the momentary loss of productivity.

Did you like these tips on how to identify an unproductive employee and the best techniques to motivate them?

Then, share this article on your social networks and stay tuned for more tips like these!



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