How to deal with problem employees

Irrespective of size and scale, almost all organizations have to deal with problem employees. Performance issues, poor attendance, bad attitude, a lack of motivation, and shaky ethics often come to the fore for employers and managers to deal with. Placement agencies perform thorough background checks, conduct personality analysis tests, and even hold psychological assessments before finally handing the offer letter. But sometimes employees still don’t turn out to be a good fit for the organization.

Sometimes, patience is required to deal with such employee behaviour. At other times, employers must take swift action to save the organization’s time. In either case, the key is to not spend a disproportionate amount of time and emotional energy but know what course of action to take. Here are some ways to deal with problem employees.

Actively listen

With difficult employees, managers often stop paying attention to what’s actually happening. The irritation and a feeling of despair bog them down, having already formed an opinion of the employee. But the best managers know the way to go is to actively listen and be attentive since this is what helps them get a clear understanding of the situation. Simply listening can sometimes solve a whole lot of problems. The employee may have a real problem that isn’t their fault and they may start acting differently once they feel heard.

Give clear feedback

Most managers spend a lot of time complaining about problem employees but don’t invest enough time in something very important – giving feedback about what the employee must do differently. Giving negative feedback is undoubtedly a tough task but a good manager knows how to do it well – by making the employee comfortable enough to not be defensive and giving them specific information on what they need to improve on.

Set consequences

If things don’t get better even after doing the right things, good managers get specific. They communicate the consequences of carrying on with problematic behaviour. Such warnings are important to let problem employees know that their behaviour can have an actual negative impact.

Be courageous

While firing is the hardest decisions a manager has to take, it is not something that must be avoided just for its sake. As a responsible manager, you can’t make excuses or put it off. However tough some things might be, they must be done if the situation so demands. Have the courage to do the right thing.

Don’t gossip

It is tempting to release one’s frustration by bad-mouthing someone who is creating trouble at work. No matter how problematic an employee’s behaviour, good managers don’t speak ill of them. Apart from warping public opinion against someone, it also creates an environment of mistrust and back-stabbing, making you look thoroughly unprofessional.

While problems in the workplace are inevitable, your attitude towards them doesn’t have to be negative. Be a good manager and do the right thing in the interest of the organization. To aid your search for the right candidate, look towards professional placement agencies for a skilled and productive pool of talent.


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May 2020
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