March 25, 2012
Every organization has difficult employees that are not necessarily the happiest bunch.
Whether is it a personality issue, organizational or environmental issue, it is par for the course to have variance in people’s behaviour, moods, or job satisfaction.
You could have the most successful, corporate culturally rich environment, with great working conditions and compensation and you can still have disgruntled staff. No fear, there are some human resource tactics to adequately handle some difficult employees who may throw a temporary wrench into your organization.
Identify the Issues with the Difficult Employees
When you as a leader become aware of issues in the organization and with specific staff members, ensure that you approach the employees to better understand the scenario and to isolate the specific issues. Ensure that in a confidential setting the employee has the opportunity to openly express the situation with you or your human resource specialist. Encourage open communication in your corporate culture. Be an active listener first before diving into any actions.
Solutions in Handling Difficult Employees
Take note of the issues the employee has expressed freely, and then ask for some potential solutions from their side. Employee feedback is extremely important. You may find that part of the operation or the way things are done in the organization is causing not only this employee but others grief. Employees provide you with the needed intelligence at ground level. This intelligence may not be something that you are privy to.
In asking for valued feedback, you make a disgruntled employee feel valued and part of the solution. In normal circumstances, this should build higher morale with this disgruntled employee, and broadly across the organization.
If the scenario involves more than one employee or third parties, then you may have to engage with multiple parties, seeking solutions from diverse array of people. Customers, suppliers, and contractors can sometimes be the cause of issues in your organization and with your staff.
With strong human resource policies and procedures your organization will be well equipped to handle difficult employees. Whenever possible, your human resource specialist can be used to intervene in difficult circumstances to provide the direct assistance to not only you as the leader, but also to the employee.
Your human resource specialist may also act as a mediator between management and the employee in cases where there are challenges between staff and management. The difficult employees may be more open to discussing the challenges as they may feel that the human resource specialist is one step removed from management. The specialist can also provide the direct lines and information on the company’s human resource policies and on any labor acts or regulations.
Implement Solutions to Resolve Challenges with Difficult Employees
Once you nail down some workable solutions, be ready as a responsible leader to implement some best practices or solutions. Implementation in any action plan is critically important to resolving those initial challenges identified. Have a plan of action to implement those recommendations that were developed from feedback from the difficult employees and the advice from your human resource specialist.
As a last resort to difficult employees who do not change their behavior, or do continuous harm to other employees or the organization, dismissal of the employees may be the last action to resolve. You should however, make every attempt to resolve before this last option. Ensure that if you do go down the path of termination, that you abide by your polices, and any acts or regulations.
Following up with Difficult Employees
After implementation, follow up with staff and units on progress. Is it working? Did it resolve the problems? If not, you may have to tweak your approach with a revised action plan to implement.
If your implemented actions have resolved the issues, then you may be on your way to achieving greater job satisfaction with all staff, which will greatly impact the performance in your organization.
Summary of Some Tips in Handling Difficult Staff:
- Encourage open communication on any topic with employees
- Empower employees to make suggestions and recommendations for solutions
- Make employees feel that they are a part of the solution
- Be empathetic, be a good listener
- Show strong leadership and implement solutions
- Track the results of the solutions
- Follow up with staff and measure results
- Be prepared and embrace a continuous improvement process to create a better environment for your valued staff
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© 2012 Strategy Plan One