A narcissist, a new employee, and the office jerk walk into the break room. Sounds like a joke but it’s real life for some workplaces. The worst part is that these employees are not 100% focused on their work, the customer, or the needs of the business. These employees were bound to interact. I wonder what the new employee will think? We know that you have so much to do in a given day but if you do not address problem employees, it will drag your new and best performers down. Having just one problem employee can have an impact on your company culture and brand. We would consider some of the problematic behaviors of an employee that:
• Gossips, spreads rumors
• Has a negative attitude towards customers and/or co-workers
• Complains and/or whines
• Has poor attendance
• Is not interested or willing to help other team members
You deserve employees that have a good attitude, good intent, and are eager to do a good job, but first you have to work through the issue with any problem employees.
What can you do to manage a challenging employee before they do too much damage?
• Gather the courage and time to conduct crucial conversations.
When you observe the employee coming in late again or being rude to a co-worker, meet with the employee in a private setting as quickly as possible. It’s better to have a conversation shortly after the infraction has occurred. Be sure to bring the issue to the employee’s attention, “Becky, I noticed that you have been late to work 6 days in the last 3 weeks. Is everything okay?” Before the close of the conversation, be sure to remind Becky of the attendance policy, expectation moving forward, and that further incident may result in corrective action up to and including termination.
**Caution: If Becky shares medical issues, workplace problems, etc., be sure to take an HR Partner**
• Connect the behavior to the company mission and objectives.
Directly tie the employee’s negative behaviors to the department’s goals, functions, and objectives. So they can see how it empirically affects the company.
• Remove the emotion from the conversation.
You are human. You will be frustrated. But, it will only complicate the conversation if you allow your emotions to get the best of you. Stick to the facts around the company policy violation, be specific, and avoid saying anything like “you are really making my life difficult.”
• Document the concerns and the conversation.
This means that each infraction should be noted in either the employee file or a secured document tracking platform. It’s impossible to remember the details and the day the incident occurred when trying to recall from memory alone. Take good notes so that you are prepared to meet with the employee when meeting at a later date. Your notes may also prove crucial if you need to respond to an unemployment claim in the future.
The best case scenario, by opening up communication with the employee, they realize that you care. Hopefully, the behavior changes. If you would like assistance having difficult conversations or managing difficult employees, an HR Consultant is able to assist.