How to discipline an employee is not easy. Difficult people are not a major problem if you meet them on the street, in the supermarket or at the entrance of a building. But when you have to work with someone like that, it cannot be enjoyable.
How to identify these people from the rest? Easy. They are late, leave early, don’t finish their work on time, and always have an excuse for every failure.
Wait, there’s more: they harass you and the other team members, ask too many questions that are logical answers, neglect details, distract you, and constantly question you.
And the worst thing is that when they interact with clients, salespeople, or subordinates, they are grumpy, rude, condescending, inappropriate, or simply maintain the wrong position. Do you know someone who meets this profile?
Of course, no one wants to work with employees like that, as productivity decreases, frustrations increase, team morale drops, and both customers and salespeople feel uncomfortable.
Prevent this from happening in your business. Try to consider these 5 tips into account how to discipline an employee:
1. Don’t ignore the problem.
Suppose the employee brings something valuable to the company and possesses certain qualities; if you are in this case, it is worth dealing with it. Often, the boss or manager in charge ignores difficult collaborators, hoping that the problem will go away on its own. That is, the person will turn around and leave on their own initiative.
Tip: remember that ignoring the situation is the worst alternative, as it could become a progressive problem.
2. Act as soon as possible.
It is important to intervene as soon as the negative behavior pattern is evident. If the matter is not addressed in time, the consequences will grow gradually. Sometimes difficult employees have no idea that their behavior is a nuisance to the rest of the team.
This is because most people tend to put up with the annoying behaviors of others to get along with everyone. Some employees even consider them only as an “inconvenience” of the job and, like the manager, they want their colleagues and subordinates to like them. In the end, nobody says anything.
Tip: The director or manager’s responsibility is to take appropriate action to correct the situation. Therefore, if you are in charge of the business, your task is to obtain information from the group members to determine the magnitude of the problem and observe the employee in question as he interacts with customers and salespeople.
3. Investigate the problem yourself.
Armed with accurate information, take the troublemaker into a boardroom or your office – away from others – and calmly approach the matter. It begins by asking him if he is aware of any problem in the company to confirm if he is aware of his actions.
If they answer no, then you will need to describe their behavior. He may interrupt you to defend himself, however, stick with more examples of his unacceptable behavior. When you’re done, give them a chance to present their arguments.
Tip: the important thing here is that the person involved recognizes a problem with their behavior.
4. Help the problem employee correct course.
Once the employee begins to understand that his behavior is negative and that this situation affects the rest of the organization, either you -in your capacity as director or manager- or someone from Human Resources has to guide him to initiate a change in attitude. This process takes time, so be patient.
Tip: You or the Human Resources area should offer specific feedback to the employee on the success or failure to minimize negative actions and maximize positive ones.
5. If all of the above fails, the relationship will have to be terminated.
If the person insists on denying their inappropriate behavior and does not try to improve the situation, the final measure will terminate the employment relationship.
Before making this decision, set a deadline for him to show that he cares about his job and is willing to change for the better. If the trial period does not result in an acceptable and appropriate attitude, feel free to fire him.
Do not worry too much, and most recognize negative behavior and try to modify it. This rule is especially true in tough economic times because the unemployment rate is high and finding a new job becomes a difficult mission.
Tip: follow the guidelines of the company to avoid making a hasty decision. This implies identifying the problem in time to giving direct feedback to the collaborator. Failure to do so will harm both the problem person and other team members, and you will also put the success of the business at risk.