A digital marketing agency is by nature a lively place bustling with creativity where things evolve fast and deadlines are tight. In general, the digital marketing business is highly competitive so any agency has to work hard and be constantly updated about the trends and happenings.
This is why you need to have a set of talented and hardworking individuals working for the agency which are strong team players but are capable of leading if need be.
In such an environment, one underperforming employee can jeopardize the team dynamics but letting that person go instantly could mean losing a valuable potential contributor and not to mention that it sends the wrong message to other team members. With that in mind, here are six tips on how to handle an underperforming employee in your agency.
React on time
The timely reaction is a crucial element in helping your employees perform better. If you decide to observe them a bit to see whether the mistake they made was accidental or if they do not know the procedure, that is of course, fine. However, if you know for a fact that the mistake wasn’t just a one-time occurrence, you need to react right away for both that employee’s and your business’s sake.
Naturally, you need to take a professional stance so that the employee and other digital marketing employees can see that your actions are composed and transparent.
Honesty is the best policy
When it comes to the content of that first conversation you will have with the underperforming employee, being honest and direct is the best approach. Stick to the facts because they are the ones that would be telling the story. If you consider it useful, you can perhaps explain the performance situation from the perspective of a customer since being the end recipients of a chain of activities, they are the best judges of quality.
Your expectations and agency’s policies are something you also need to be clear about because if employees know what is expected of them, they will have an easier time aiming at those requirements.
Understand the problem
Although crossing the line of a professional relationship is generally not a wise move, sometimes you need to learn more about your employees’ lives to know how to help improve their performance.
Perhaps money issues are hindering their marketing creativity and implementing personalized payroll cards on your part can allow them to get quick access to their money.
They could be just going through a rough patch because of some stressful event so in that case, you might just need to give them enough space to see if that was the reason for underperforming. Knowing the root of the problem will help you find the right approach.
The mutual solution is the key
Once that you shared all the facts regarding their performance and you learned all relevant data, it is time to look for a solution. Including your employees in creating one as opposed to setting up a strict set of rules to be followed shows them you still value their work and respect their opinions.
If somebody is being reprimanded, they will most likely feel bad and offering them just a deadline and constant observation will only result in a lack of confidence and new mistakes. Instead, allow them to have a say in the next steps, on how and how often to report and what the goals are and you will definitely notice a change in the attitude.
Follow up on them
Following up doesn’t equal breathing down their necks, mind you. You agreed on the procedures and reporting and now it’s time to give them room to build their confidence and to prove that they are up to the challenge. If you intimidate them, they will feel reluctant to ask their digital teammates for help if they need it and sometimes that is the best way to learn. But also, they need to know that you are genuinely interested in their progress and that you haven’t given them a false opportunity which will end in making them redundant no matter the results.
If you see that the mutual course of action you concocted is working, don’t be shy about expressing it. Employee recognition is vital for their overall performance because it improves their work satisfaction, strengthens the feeling of belonging and loyalty and consequently, it boosts their productivity.
You can start by acknowledging every report that was done well, and as they build up confidence, you can praise them in front of their marketing team as well. This will decrease the feeling of being ostracized that they might have been experiencing and you will soon have another productive and confident employee.
The modern business world is moving fast and digital marketing is no stranger to that trend. Technology has expanded our talent pool and given us the possibility of employing people from all over the world. However, because of that reason, employees don’t usually stick around that long and are often on the lookout for a new position. This is why it is vital not to give up easily on them – you will shape an employee to your agency’s needs and make everybody think twice before quitting your agency.