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What to Do When Your Best Employees Stop Performing

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We all know a great employee — hardworking, dependable and one that consistently provides results.

However, sometimes these great employees suddenly start performing poorly. This could happen because of unresolved problems that have bothered them for months. Whether it’s a personality clash with the boss or something completely different, don’t be surprised when you learn why seasoned employees start making odd decisions, exhibiting erratic behavior or not reaching their goals.

They just don’t feel like they belong anymore

Your employees are like children. You need to love them and give them attention, and they’ll be good to you. However, things change — kids grow up and move out, and employees start feeling like they don’t belong anymore.

If you feel like your employee is drifting away from you, it could be because of many factors.

  • You’re not giving them enough feedback.
  • You’re not challenging them.
  • They’ve been promised something that hasn’t come through yet (like a promotion or raise).
  • The job isn’t as exciting anymore.

Related: Happy Employees Create Happy Customers

They want to be praised

It’s not that your employee isn’t performing well. It’s just that they want to be praised. If your employee isn’t feeling appreciated, they will start looking for another job. When they find one that makes them feel appreciated, you’ll be losing money and time as they transition over.

Make sure to praise your employees. Praising them can be as simple as saying “good job” or “you did a good job.” You might even give them a gift card or thank them in person or on social media. Whatever works for your company culture is what matters most.

They don’t see a future in the company

Have you ever been in a relationship that you knew wouldn’t last? You weren’t on the same page, and there was no real chemistry. It felt like you were just hanging out to be together. And then one day, you realize that this person isn’t part of your life for long — and that’s okay.

So what does this have to do with your employees? Well, it’s kind of like that. If they’re not performing well, they may not see a future in your company or have an interest in being part of your team. For example, they may be looking for something more challenging or exciting than what they’re doing now. Or maybe they just don’t gel with other employees or managers at your company.

So how do you fix this problem? You need to figure out why they don’t want to be there and address their concerns head-on. If it’s something that can be fixed (like creating a more open work environment), start working on it immediately.

Related: Learn the C.O.R.E. Four Principals That Boost Employee Happiness

They have a personal problem going on

If your employee’s performance has been dipping, it may be because they have a personal problem causing them stress.

They might be struggling with a relationship or dealing with another life issue that’s taking their attention and energy. If you don’t take the time to find out what’s happening in their personal life, they’ll likely continue to struggle at work.

If you suspect this is the case, you can ask them directly if anything is going on that would be affecting their work. It might feel awkward at first, but once you do it once or twice, it’ll become easier. And if they’re willing to open up to you about what’s going on, then they’ll likely appreciate your concern and willingness to listen.

Their work environment is toxic

If your good employee is suddenly performing poorly, the first thing to check is their work environment.

If they’re getting a lot of negative feedback or criticism from their boss, they might feel like they can’t perform well at work because their boss doesn’t have confidence in them.

Maybe they’re working in a toxic environment with lots of backstabbing and drama between employees. This can be especially hard on sensitive or introverted people as it’s difficult for them to cope with being around so much negative energy, all day long. For instance, if your employee isn’t very social and prefers working alone, then having to interact with everyone else daily can make them feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the end of the day — and this will show up in their work performance.

When it comes to employee performance, there are a lot of factors that come into play. Sometimes performance ratings are affected by things you wouldn’t expect the details matter greatly. I don’t assume bad employees should be fired simply for falling behind once in a while. But I think everyone has the right and ability to do their best work every day—and if they aren’t, it’s reasonable to ask why and try to help fix the problem.

Related: How to Balance Employee Happiness and Business Expectations

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10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Self-care has become an all-encompassing term that has strayed from the importance of everyday commodities that keep us in good health and spirits. Though pampering and “treat yourself” moments still have value, here are ten ways to invest in yourself to produce long-lasting, positive results.

Related: 8 Self-Care Tips From Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Put money into a 401(k)

It’s never too early (or too late!) to start saving for the future. Depending on your employment status, there are different retirement savings accounts. 401(k)s are the most common since these are employer-sponsored and often come with an employer match. However, freelancers also have options, such as a SEP-IRA or a high-yield savings account, to put away extra, tax-free dollars for retirement.

2. Schedule a health checkup

Self-care first includes taking care of your physical health. It’s easy to discredit regular checkups when you’re feeling healthy, but make this the year to get your blood work done. It creates a baseline for your health to identify areas needing improvement or extra attention.

Also, choose areas in your life where you can make small changes. Improving your health doesn’t always mean a drastic overhaul; it may be as simple as drinking more water or adding an extra 30 minutes of exercise to your day.

Related: 3 Key Tips for Optimizing Your Physical Health as an Entrepreneur

3. Review health insurance benefits

Many people with health insurance aren’t sure exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. If you’re unsure, talk with your HR representative or your health insurance provider to get an overview of deductibles, co-payments and other supplemental benefits you may not be aware of. Then, decide if the health care plan makes sense for your current lifestyle.

Are you paying for benefits you don’t use, or do you need additional benefits that aren’t covered? Selecting the right plan will help ensure you have what you need without paying the extra expense for anything you don’t.

4. Ignite your curiosity

Maintaining healthy cognitive functions through new pursuits gives a boost to the brain. Get curious and find what speaks to you. This can be anything from exploring local museums, embarking on different hiking trails, learning a new language or reading more books.

There’s no limit to what you can do, and these activities can ignite more creativity and motivation in your work. While it may be helpful to look to others for inspiration, make them enjoyable so you’ll want to make them a regular occurrence.

5. Prioritize mental health

Mental health has been at the forefront of people’s lives over the past few years, as many have experienced burnout. We often equate productivity with a value that drives us to go beyond our means and leads to anxiety, stress and depression. Take note of your everyday stressors and see how to reduce or eliminate them. Then, replace them with relaxing outlets that allow you to recharge.

There are various ways to prioritize mental health, from practicing positive self-talk to meditation to scheduling an electronics-free day. You may have to try different solutions before you find one that fits.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

6. Implement good sleep habits

Consistent sleep is one of the essential factors of good health but one that is often overlooked. For many, it can be challenging to wind down from the workday. Therefore, you must “train” your body to prepare for sleep by getting into a nighttime routine.

Create a sanctuary for yourself to improve your sleep habits. Enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, perform a skincare routine, and snuggle in with a good book rather than scrolling through your phone. Additionally, ensure your bedroom is dark and cool for ideal sleep comfort and turn on soothing sounds if it helps lull you to sleep.

7. Try something new

What have you wanted to try but have always held back? Maybe it’s public speaking or contributing to a blog. Whatever “new” has been on your to-do, make a plan, schedule it on your calendar and go for it. It’s common to hold back from these activities due to fear of the unknown or failure, but trying new things helps create confidence and can be the catalyst you need to push you to the next level.

8. Learn to set boundaries

Boundary setting is crucial to relationships yet can be difficult to master. It doesn’t always involve simply saying no to people’s requests. Instead, it requires protecting your own values when people violate them. Setting boundaries may mean spending less time with certain people, removing yourself from toxic situations, or declining invites to events that don’t improve your life. Explore areas where boundaries will help you grow, and keep in mind growth itself is a work in progress.

Related: How to Set Boundaries to Build Thriving Relationships

9. Spend quality time alone

Learning how to enjoy time spent alone is a valuable gift. We are inundated by a false sense of connection through the internet, which often makes us feel lonelier than ever. Then, we overschedule our calendars to make up for human connections, only to feel drained afterward. Slow it down and plan a few solo dates a month to see how it feels to be truly present with yourself.

For those who aren’t used to spending quality time alone, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable initially, but these stem from your own perceptions. Take in a matinee, sit in a coffee shop and read, or enjoy a concert or event you’ve wanted to attend. Alone time has been linked to improved stress management and greater life satisfaction, so it’s worth trying to give yourself more time.

Related: Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative

10. Get active

Getting active can take on several directions. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual. The point is to engage with people and pursuits that feed your soul. Whether volunteering within your community, setting yourself an exercise goal, or learning more about personal development, there are endless ways to get active and invest in yourself this year.

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Are You a Winner? How to Truly Define Winning in Your Business

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Businesses gauge their performance typically with dozens of goals and metrics. But you can’t do everything at once. The challenge is to get people focused on the one thing that’s most important right now. If it moved in the right direction, it would eliminate a weakness (or capitalize on an opportunity) and improve financial outcomes. You improve that, and you win.

However, not every company clearly defines winning. A catalog of goals can pull the organization in multiple directions and stretch finite resources. Numerous goals can inherently be at odds, working against each other and for conflicting purposes. For example, a cost reduction goal might undermine an innovation goal requiring a significant investment.

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Gen Z Is Making Ugg Boots Fashionable Again: Report

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Ugg boots, the furry, sheepskin boots that defined the 2000s are back, apparently, with spiking interest and Gen Z cachet, according to data from shopping website, Lyst.

The site’s annual quarterly report that highlights the “hottest” 20 fashion brands was released on Thursday, and, as Insider noted, Ugg is on it for the first time since the index began in 2017.

“Gen Z shoppers are breathing new life into once dormant brands … with over 1.2 billion mentions on TikTok — Ugg’s influence is undeniable,” the report notes.

The boots were also sold out of stores during the holidays, it added.

Generation Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012, has demonstrated a penchant for bringing back old technology and trends, from flip phones to “vintage” headphones with cords.

But Ugg boots go back much further — the word “ugg” is actually a general term in Australia that means boots made from sheepskin and fleece, according to the BBC.

The company that created the “UGG” boot, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, is based in the U.S. and has tried and failed to trademark the word in Australia (where a court decided it was a generic word and thus could not be trademarked), the outlet added.

The company says the boots began to gain popularity in California in the 1980s. They were first featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2000 (a huge brand-maker back then) and became “cherished commodities” early in the decade, according to Vogue.

The boots later gained prominence again with a fashion movement that prioritized “ugly” clothes, and have since become an unironic Gen Z favorite, per Insider. Kylie Jenner was also spotted wearing them in November.

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