Dollars and Sense: Dealing with marginal workers, boredom

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Who are your marginal workers?

These are the people who meet your minimum performance standards, but rarely exceed them.

They are not bad enough to be fired, but do not really carry their own weight.

Good workers who decline

Greg has been with the company for six years.

His production has always been well above the minimum standards and his supervisor, Pam, looked upon him as one of her best people.

A few months ago Greg&8217;s production began to decline.

He seemed to have lost interest in the job.

Why does this happen to people like Greg?

Sometimes it&8217;s due to personal problems.

One&8217;s personal life and job life cannot be separated.

If there are serious problems at home, it will affect our work.

Sometimes it&8217;s due to a real or perceived grievance.

Some people keep their grievances deep inside themselves and it festers unless it is brought out and addressed.

In her discussion with Greg, Pam learned that Greg had set certain goals for himself, which were not being met on the job.

Although his work was praised and his reviews excellent, he had not reached the position he had hoped to reach at this stage of his career.

The supervisor should know the goals of his or her people and do what could be done to help them reach those goals.

Let the worker know what he or she must do to attain the goals – including maintaining a high performance level, taking additional training on the job or through outside study and pointing out how long it might take to achieve this.

If it is not possible for the worker to meet his or her goals on the job, the supervisor and worker together should determine how the goals might be modified so that they could be met on this job.


One way a supervisor can help formerly productive workers return to productivity is to enrich the job by combining functions that were performed by several people into one job so that each worker does more diverse work.

Another is to restructure the manner in which the work is done.

This is achieved most effectively when the worker participates in the restructuring.

People who work on a job can often come up with ideas to make the work more interesting and effective