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How to tell if an employee is skiving rather than thriving

By 24/01/2017August 8th, 2023Employee Wellbeing

As a manager or HR representative, you might think it is obvious which employee is skiving and which is thriving, simply by looking at their performance reviews and results, but this is not the case. The best skivers know how to look busy, do just enough work and take as little responsibility as possible in ways so that they always appear to be a thriving employee. Though this might seem fine as they are getting the work done, it is not conducive to running a successful business, what you need to make your company work are thriving employees who are eager and motivated and continue personal development within your company. The problem you face, however, is separating the thriving employees from the skiving ones.

How to Identify a skiving employee

Skiving employees are very clever, they use a number of tactics to avoid work, while still seeming busy and eager in their role. The only way you can identify the skivers, is by familiarising yourself with some of these strategies that they use and then watch your employees to see which one applies them.

Here are some of the ways employees appear to be thriving, but are actually skiving:

• Leaving a jacket on the back of their chair: to look like they are always the first in and the last out, some employees will leave a jacket on the back of their chair, then when managers walk by they will assume that employee is in the office and hard at work, which isn’t always the case.
• Do not shy away from work: skivers will appear to be eager and happy to accept work, when in actuality they accept the work that they know will inevitably fall to them to complete, but no more. The same people will often disappear as soon as a job comes in that they do not want to do, so that it is assigned to someone else.
• Technology: the advancements in technology actually helps employees to skive. They can appear to be engrossed in their work, when actually they are internet shopping or spending time on social networking. Seeing your employee on the computer is no guarantee that they are actually working.
• Setting a timer on emails: some employees will write out an email and then schedule this to send late at night or first thing in the morning, giving the impression that they have written the email out at this time and are working late (or starting work early).
• Leaving early for meetings: employees who have to work out of the office have the advantage of using this. All they simply need to do is claim they have a meeting and leave early carrying a folder. Managers will believe that the employee is hard at work ensuring the customers are happy, when really they have decided to go home early that day.
• Reporting to more than one manager: some employees will need to report to more than one manager, or might make this choice themselves. This gives the impression to all managers that the employee is incredibly busy, but unless the managers sit down together and compare what their employee has told them they are doing, the employee could actually be doing very little.
• An expert in a boring area: all employers want to see their staff looking for opportunities of personal development and expanding their skillset. Skiving employees tend to develop themselves in an area that is boring and/or of little significance, ensuring they won’t actually get bothered or have to do any more work, while making them looking like they have tried to expand themselves.
• Saving work: skiving employees might save up their work before they know they are due to go on holiday, then expect their cover to complete all of this while they are away.

How to create a thriving atmosphere

Skiving employees might get the job done, but they won’t go out of their way to do it well or excel in anything. If you want your business to be successful you need employees who are thriving, eager and motivated to do well in their role.

One of the best ways you can encourage your employees to be thrivers instead of skivers is by providing the right atmosphere. Some ways to do this include:
• Allow employees to work from home if they need to/want to.
• Provide plenty of personal development opportunities.
• Make the work meaningful to employees.
• Invest in developing relationships with employees and third parties.
• Have a family day and allow your employees to bring their personal life into work.
• Provide exercising facilities.
• Make your team feel like a family, make an effort for their birthdays, provide support etc.
As a manager, the important thing to remember is that you cannot take your employees at face value, you have to carefully watch over them to see exactly what they are doing.

Discover more about Natural HR and how it can help you to better manage your employees on our features page.