Hey everyone,

I have an employee who is dedicated and gets her job done, she does her daily work but I can’t seem to engage her to go above and beyond like the rest of the team strives for. We recently had a performance review together,  she does have some performance issues with punctuality and organization. She  will often ask questions, and the answer is often all in an email (usually that day/week) explaining a specific situation we might encouter in the near future and how to handle It - so constant reminders to review her emails.

ny issues is - I can’t crack her code. I hold all kinds of team building activies - potlucks, icebreakers before meetings. I have even driven this employ home multiple times each month just chatting To show I care about her, and what’s happening in her life. During other employee reviews - they  engage, agree, suggest their own ideas, I can see they are motivated, happy, or in disagreement. With this employee, there’s never back and forth. I feel like I review the same weaknesses, and I never get a sense of excitement or willpower to improve. I know she wants to improve, but I don’t feel she is inspired to. I can’t seem to motivate or inspire her with any team challenge, fun event or feedback like with other teammates.

Shes been with the company for 5+ years, she’s in customer/account support. 

I am a young manager, 27, my team ranges from 30-55. I find rhythm with every employee, except her - she seems minimally interested in every every challenge, activity or project - or only interested in the basics requirements of her job.

Soemthing must be making her unhappy, soemthing about my style perhaps, and I am not sure how to get the bottom of this. Every year I find myself wondering the same thing. How can I inspire her and how can I talk with her to find what I need to do?



robbyvega's picture
Licensee Badge

It sounds like you're doing a lot of the right things. Driving her home and other ways to spend alone time with her to break the ice was great, but it looks like it hasn't moved the needle. 

What do you know about her personal life? What does she do on vacation, favorite sports team, etc.? I don't mean for you to answer these questions on this public forum. If you have these answers, how does she respond when you attempt to discusss them? If you don't have these answers, how can you find out?

An employee on my team was reserved around me as well. When I found out he was a big basketball fan (of which I was not), I took the time to watch a game and learna. little bit about it. When I discussed it with him, he was shocked that I watched it, and opened up. For me, making it obvious that I was trying to relate worked. Does she know you're trying?


pucciot's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Don't be discouraged or push too hard.

You may be establishing stronger ties than you think,

1 - You do _NOT_ have to "crack her code".  Stop trying.

Love her how she is.  And accept that you may only get small incremental changes from her.

Take a Breath - be Zen about her.  Don't push or pull.   If you Pray --- Pray for her by name.


You cannot motivate her. Motivation and change always comes from within.

You suspect there is trouble at home.  Then let her deal with it.


You may find that eventually, she will open up a bit more.

And if she doesn't -- that may be OK too.


2 - Work Performance.  Well I don't know how you do Annual appraisals or Merit Increase raises.  

If you do them and have had repeated feedback about performance issues, then let the appraisals reflect that.

If your Organization does Merit Increases - then let her know that her lack of improvement will be reflected accordingly on her appraisals and in her Merit Increase.

Let her know that you care about her AND you still must act with integrity in your Role in the organization.

The Facts are the Facts

--- Only you can determine if her lack of improvement warrants letting her go.

--- If you feel that her lack-luster performance is sufficient for now, then let it ride --- but, do not stop the conversation about performance.  You still must do what you need to do. 

--- If it gets to the point that you must let her go, then do that.  The Thing is that she may need that change in her life to go on to something else that might be better.


3 - You may be having a huge impact.  Without even knowing it.

This may be a difficult season in her life -- And you may be the only constant steady thing she can count on.

Stay the course.

Keep loving her.   

Stay positive.

Stay supportive.

Keep up the Conversation about performance

Keep up the efforts to keep the lines of communication open.

One day she will look back at you and say that You, as a Boss were a steady and stable influence in her life when other things were not going well.  That she could count on you to there as a Boss.  Providing Positive and Negative Feedback - and Always having a meeting with her every week.

She may need you now more than you think.



Good Luck