How to Deal With Employees Who Can’t Keep Up With the Workload

Employees who fail to cope with workload can be found at some point in almost all companies, be they smaller or larger. The causes of these situations may range from mistakes made in the recruitment process, the lack of motivation of employees, their difficulty in adapting to changes in a dynamic working environment or even their reluctance towards the way how work is being done in the team they are part of.

Thus, sometimes you can notice that certain employees are constantly prolonging their lunch breaks even up to two hours a day, or that some of them are always looking for excuses to explain that they failed to solve certain tasks within the predetermined deadlines, that others tend to blame they colleagues for failing to do something in time, or that some employees tend to delegate they work to other team members.

Identifying Causes

Therefore, what remains to be done when we encounter such problems? First of all, we need to see if the workload of that particular employee is really hard to cope with, try to make an average of the time needed to process certain types of tasks, and then draw conclusions and start an action plan. The next step would be to communicate these conclusions to that particular employee during private meetings, not in front of other colleagues.

Once these conclusions are communicated, it is advisable to ask for the employee’s point of view so that he won’t feel accused, criticized or misunderstood, to show him our goodwill and willingness to resolve, through a joint action plan, the whole situation. Otherwise, in the absence of a debate, we can get to wrong judgments and come to decisions that make things worse rather than solve them.

Sometimes employees who cannot handle the workload might need extensive health and well-being benefits, and if the organization affords it, it’s good to offer them, because when we will pull the line we might see that the investment was a good one. Also, when it is possible and if it meets the identified needs, it is good to offer also other types of support, such as the ability to work from home or work in shifts, or a flexible schedule.

Communicating the Consequences In Case of Failure

If none of the things that have been done to help the employee deal with the workload is efficient, it is necessary to communicate the consequences that might arise from this. During this discussion, we should mention the actions that will be taken if the employee’s productivity does not improve, even after receiving additional help, whether this would mean a relocation to another project or, worse, dismissal.


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