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Problem Employees: Four Strategies

In an earlier blog, we discussed ways to handle problem customers. Many of those techniques will help you deal with problem employees also. But here are four strategies that are specific to handling difficult employees.

1. Make sure your Employee Handbook and employee job descriptions explain the behaviors expected and the consequences. You need to develop consistent rules and to give employees the training and information that allows them to behave well. You should not allow one employee to arrive late and reprimand another employee for lateness because the first had an excuse that appealed to you and the second didn’t. An employee cannot use protective equipment appropriately if you never told or trained the employee how to use the equipment.
2. Keep records. Every time the problem employee engages in inappropriate behavior (arrives late, misses deadlines, hassles other employees), write down the date and the circumstances. If you eventually need to discipline or fire that employee, you will have documentation as to the employee’s behavior.
3. Face the issue. Some of the most intractable problems go away once they are openly discussed but employers hesitate to bring them up and then the problems escalate. If you as the boss or manager hesitate to bring up an issue with an employee, think how helpless your other employees, vendors and customers feel. The most important step you can take in facing an issue is to listen. You cannot know what is causing an employee’s problem until you ask the employee and then truly listen to the answer.
4. Ask for help. At HR Compliance 101 we have helped many companies prevent and turn around problem employees. You want to use the right words in your Employee Handbook, job descriptions and most of all in one-on-one conversations, to prevent misunderstandings and even lawsuits. We can help train managers in how to deal with problem employees. Difficult employees can have major long-term effects on your business culture, safety and success. Let us help.

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