One of your best employees isn't performing up to par. It's not just one off day, or even an occasional mistake; it's a clearly noticeable downward spiral. You can't afford not to take action.

Here are three ways you can re-energize a top performer:

1. Acknowledge the change in performance. Let the employee know you've observed a difference in his or her job performance, and ask for the worker's perspective on the situation. Avoid taking an accusatory tone and highlight some of his or her past achievements.

2. Uncover the real issues. Help the employee determine the reasons underlying the problem. A change in performance may stem from a work-related incident that caused poor morale, such as being passed over for a promotion. Or the employee may be experiencing burnout or no longer feeling challenged. It's also possible the problem is something personal.

3. Brainstorm solutions. Once you've identified the problem, work with the employee to develop and implement solutions. If the problem is skills-based, arrange for training. If burnout is the problem, solutions may include giving new assignments, providing help with the workload or offering vacation time. If the issue is a temporary personal problem, you may be able to wait it out; but if it's more complicated, make referrals to the available assistance resources. Above all, don't give up on the employee.