Managing Slackers

Every workplace has at least one slacker that causes enormous amounts of aggravation, stress, and lost productivity. In some workplaces, the slacker is even running the workplace, running off talent, or worse, damaging the business.  

If you have a slacker on your team, here are things you can try to increase his or her productivity:

  • Keep them busy: Most people tend to slack because they perceive there is just nothing to do – well we know that is not true. Since this is most likely not the case, giving them plenty of work is one way to keep them productive.
  • Make them accountability: Sometimes people slack because they believe there is no accountability and they know they can get away with murder (most likely they have been slacking for some time). For some jobs a time study may be appropriate, where they record the work that is done on an hourly basis each day. If you are knowledgeable about their job, you’ll know what’s bogus and what real work is and how long it would take to accomplish any given task.
  • Give deadlines: Once a task is assigned make it clear that you need the work completed by X or Y day and time.  Don’t allow any extensions unless the request is reasonable.
  • Keep an Eye on Them:  Place their desk/cubicle in a visible area.  Slackers tend to live in the shadows where they believe no one can see them doing nothing. In order to counter this, set up their workspace in a way that their computer screen is facing a heavy transited hallway or your own desk. Being able to watch what the screen is showing can be a powerful deterrent because the pressure of others seeing what they are doing may make them think twice about spending half of the work day on a golf site.

If all else fails, the only thing left may be for you to use disciplinary actions.  But the important key is to document their performance issues and give prompt corrective action. This is because sometimes rehabilitating a slacker can be an unachievable task and the only way to solve the problem is to have to terminate the employee. In order to do this, you’ll want to be well prepared in case they decide to fight the decision in court. Having comprehensive and complete documentation will help when you may get potentially sued. Keep notes of each time you notice a performance issue, increased absenteeism, have had to talk to the employee about not being productive or anything that could be used as evidence when the time comes.

Do you have suggestions for curtailing a slacker?  Do you agree or disagree?

photo credit


About Patricia Knight
Hello and welcome. My name is Patricia Knight. Thank you for taking the time to view my blog. I’m a Human Resources professional who is currently pursing an MBA at the University of Nevada-Reno. I am an analytical, detail-oriented professional who believes that collaboration and negotiation are critical for successful employee relations between leadership and employees.

One Response to Managing Slackers

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