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A Guide To Managing ‘Mediocre’ Accounting & Finance Employees


Put simply, not all employees are created equal. Some will come to the office day after day and give 100% whereas some simply glide by doing the bare minimum. Here are a few ways to manage the ‘mediocre’ employee, someone who simply needs a little nudge to be more successful.

Get them involved.

A person is more motivated to succeed at the things they personally choose to work on. Knowing this, you should make sure employees are involved in choosing team goals and making decisions.  Involvement in decisions generates personal buy-in and positivity.  Remember, employees who are in the midst of the day-to-day action can have different perspectives than their managers who are only near the action.  If you don’t take their perspectives into account, they’ll feel like nobody is listening and will see no reason to give 100% effort.

Reiterate the company vision.

In most cases, employees that are top performers are passionate about their job.  Their values align with the organization’s and they get excited about the company vision.  Sometimes an average performing employee just needs that excitement instilled in them to be a top performer.  Provide a clear narrative about the vision of your organization. Most employees are motivated by strong leadership, and direct interaction with leaders is a powerful tool for keeping them motivated and inspired.  The more they understand how their role fits into the larger plan of the company, the more valued they feel and in turn are more productive.  

Find out what they want.

Great managers know what keeps each person that works for them coming to work each day.  They make sure those reasons are fulfilled and help employees articulate their future goals.  If an employee isn’t performing to their fullest potential, it usually means there is a disconnect between the work they’re doing and their personal goals.  Have a chat with the employee and try to find out what the underlying cause is.  Understanding what the issue is enables you, as a manager, to see things in the same perspective as the employee.  You’ll be able to realign responsibilities in the person’s best interest.  It’s as simple as finding links between the employee’s goals and the organization’s goals, and matching them up.

Give encouragement and feedback.

Many employees in today’s workforce are part of a socially connected generation that’s able to regularly compare themselves against their peers, which makes them want constant encouragement and feedback.  A simple “thank you” or “great work” from a supervisor can make all the difference in the world in the amount of effort they put forth.  Keep an open line of communication and give feedback on how they’re doing and how they can improve.  They can’t meet your expectations if you don’t give feedback.   

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