Guest post by: Sally Keys
After firing an employee for penning a controversial memo, tech giant Google has found itself under fire for an oppressive and demoralizing employee culture. With all of the unrest surrounding the company, other employers are now asking themselves how they can keep employees happy without compromising the integrity of their business.
Instead of simply firing problematic employees, which can be expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally taxing, there are several things that can be done on the employers’ and HR managers’ part to handle unmanageable employees.
Address the Problem
Many managers who experience a problem employee leave the issue alone in the hopes that it will sort itself out eventually. This, however, is quite possibly the worst thing that you can do as an employer. A bad attitude can lower morale around the entire office and event affect the work of other employees. If a problematic worker is in a position where they interact with clients, their attitude can reflect poorly on the entire business. It’s best for an HR representative to step in and address problem behaviors before they get out of hand, damaging your business or its reputation.
Don’t Throw Accusations
After setting up a meeting with a troublesome employee, you may be dreading the moment of confrontation. One of the best ways to keep the conversation calm and rational is to avoid making any overt accusations. Instead, address the problem behaviors that other workers have noticed by bringing up concrete examples. You should alsoavoid using “you” statements, as these can come off as accusatory. Instead, use sentences revolving around yourself, using phrases such as “I noticed” or “I discovered.”
Don’t Make Assumptions
The first assumption that you should avoid is that the employee is aware of their behavior. Problematic employees may not be aware that what they are doing or saying is affecting their work performance in any way. Make sure that you hear all sides of the story before coming to any conclusions, including the thoughts of the employee in question.
While it’s perfectly fine for HR representatives to be friendly with their fellow employees, it’s important to remember that your relationship is professional above all else. When meeting about problem behaviors, speak politely and professionally and avoid acting overly familiar.
Come up with an Action Plan
Once you and an employee have discovered the root of the issue, you can begin taking steps to solve the problem. Whether an employee is performing poorly because of a hectic home life or they are simply bored in their position, it’s the job of the HR representative to ensure that the worker has all the resources he or she needs available to fix the issue and improve their attitude.