Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

Dealing with staff that cause you problems: 10 Top Tips: Pt 1

By James Ball | Jan 9, 2015 | Staff Retention

Unfortunately, as you know, not all staff can be motivated and one of the biggest challenges you will face when managing people is dealing with staff that cause you problems.

You’ve ensured the working environment is as good as you can make it and you’ve trained and coached your staff so they can perform their roles.  But there is always one.  There is always that one member of staff with a poor attitude or a performance that worsens month on month.

So, what do you do?  I’ve put together my top 10 tips for dealing with staff that cause you problems, with the first 5 below; hopefully some of this could come in useful when you have to deal with that ‘awkward’ employee yourself.

1. Dealing with staff: Coaching

To demonstrate that you want to salvage an employee’s career within the business, you can offer to give them some additional coaching in an area that you or the employee considers to be an area of weakness.

You could carry out the training or you could get somebody else involved who has the skills to assist.  Whatever you do, ensure that it is documented.  If the worst comes to the worst and the situation with the employee escalates to the disciplinary stage, then at least you will be able to illustrate you did everything you could to help that employee in the business.

2. Dealing with staff: Attitude

A word to try and avoid using when confronting a member of staff is ‘attitude’.  If you are trying to deal with staff taht cause you problems, telling them that they simply have a poor attitude will instantly put the barriers up.  As well as being subjective, you need to give examples of where they haven’t responded well to task requests or perhaps where they have demonstrated a ‘poor-attitude’ by constantly turning up late to work.

Take a note of specific behaviour traits.  For instance if you ask a direct question such as, “Billy, have you got the sales projection figures”, only for Billy to sigh, tut, roll his eyes and then respond with, “Yeah, in a minute”, then record this and bring it up in a one-to-one situation.  You could mention it and embarrass Billy in front of his fellow workers, but rarely in my experience does this lead to any improvement.

3. Dealing with staff: Eye contact

When sitting down and discussing a poor performance with a member of staff, be aware of how you conduct yourself.  Remember to maintain good eye contact and use a tone which demonstrates you are in full control of the situation.

It can be understandable that the employee may raise their voice, become angry or upset, but you should never mirror their behaviour or demonstrate your anger.

Stay calm and in control and If you have all the facts at hand then you shouldn’t fear this confrontation.

4. Dealing with staff: Consequences

Part of being a good manager is to spell out exactly what would happen if an employee doesn’t up their game.  You can emotionally detach yourself from awkward confrontations by referring to the company handbook or guidelines.  If Billy has persisted in delivering a low par performance consistently for three months, you can say, “Unfortunately, it’s company policy that unless we see sustainable and maintained improvement, then it will result in a written warning or even termination.”

This is also where you will have the chance to address the problem with counseling or retraining.  They may even at this point hold their hands up and say that the job isn’t for them, which in some cases may be music to your ears!

The golden rule for dealing with difficult employees is to never shy away from facing the problem head on. You don’t want to be in a situation where the employee can ever turn around and say that they were not warned of the consequences or that you didn’t tell them about company policy.

5. Dealing with staff: Keep a record

If you do have to terminate that difficult employee from the business, it will be so much easier to do if you have documented all their shortcomings.

Every time they demonstrate their poor attitude or their lack of delivery, write it down.  If they then decide to take you to court you will have catalogued their mistakes, making it very difficult for them to win a case for unfair dismissal.

Hopefully you will have found a few of these pointers useful to deal with that tricky customer at work.

You can find Part 2 of dealing with staff that cause you problems by clicking here.

Thanks for reading and should you require any further assistance in dealing with staff or your recruitment process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our sales team, or you can join the LinkedIn Coburg Banks Sales and Marketing Knowledge Network here.

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