Managing difficult employees is never easy, and it’s a skill that can take years to develop.When managers identify problem employees, Problem Staffthey can be managed — either to improve behaviour and performance, or to exit them from the business.

  1. Listen. Often, when an employee is a problem you stop paying attention to what’s actually going on. The best way to improve the situation is to get the clearest possible understanding of the situation. Sometimes simply listening can save the day.  There may be other things going on in that employee’s life or in your business that you are not aware of.
  1. Behavioural feedback. Most managers will spend months, even years, complaining about poor employee and not ever giving them actual feedback about what they need to be doing differently.  Giving feedback is one of the most uncomfortable things a manager has to do.  But great managers learn how to give feedback. This, gives the employee specific information they need in order to improve.
  1. Document. Whenever you’re having problems with an employee, write down the key points. I can’t stress this enough.  I’ve had managers tell me that they couldn’t let a difficult employee go because they had no record of his or her bad behaviour. All too often this lack of documentation is because the manager didn’t want to be ‘too negative’ about the employee. But you will need it later if things don’t work out and you need to start a more formal process, you would certainly wish you had documented it then trust me!
  1. Be consistent. If you say you’re not OK with a behaviour, don’t sometimes be OK with it.  Employees look to see what you do more than what you say.  You must be consistent with all employees. You can’t favour one over another.
  1. Set consequences. This can be done in several ways either in an informal way where you explain what your expectations are. Remember employees are not telepathic even if you would like them to be. Another way is to go down a performance development plan route. This can work really well for lots of employees and can be a win-win situation. We have a great Performance Development Plan form that we use. If you would like your own copy then you can download one here.
  1. Processes.  Make sure you have dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s. This really links back to getting things documented. You need to be aware of any processes you have in place and that they are followed. If you don’t have processes if you end up in a tribunal then what ever way you have dealt with the issue will be compared to the ACAS code of best practice.
  1. Be courageous.  Firing someone is the hardest thing a manager has to do.  If it gets to that point, do it right. Don’t make excuses, don’t put it off, don’t make someone else do it.  It’s not doing your business any good.

Remember we are here to help you every step of the way. Just email or call 01980 755075 and we will help you deal with your problem staff.