Should Companies Hold Onto Problem Employees?


Problem or difficult employees come in all types and, while there may be no warning signs during the hiring process, certain people can cause quite a stir in the workplace once they settle into their job. Some employees have poor attendance records, are unnecessarily grouchy or even rude. Others may use inappropriate language or not produce the needed results. There are cases of workplace bullying and hostile behaviour in almost every major company, but what do business owners do?

Well, when the employee is otherwise worth keeping because he or she produces solid results, there are several steps to be taken before termination. In fact, it’s a good idea to take certain steps before any termination to avoid any legal battles.

Negatives Versus Positives

Weigh the negative behaviour against the employee’s production. If the employee is producing the needed results, but his or her attitude is disrupting the workplace, it is important to, at first, make a tactful intervention that begins with a private conversation.

It is important to document the meeting and, from then on, keep track of the problem behaviour. If the behaviour continues to be a problem, show him or her the research and documentation. Discuss options and explain that these behavioral issues can lead to termination. It’s not easy, but being direct is the best approach for everybody.

Documentation Equals Protection

Documenting the behavior and warning the employee also helps to protect the employer against a wrongful termination lawsuit. Employers must proceed with caution when firing staff as there are laws designed to protect employees against what could be seen as unfair business practices. Employers must also consider an employee’s contract before firing as there may be clauses that, if violated, could be more costly than keeping the employee on. Sometimes it is cheaper to reduce an employee’s responsibilities and separate him or her from other staff members.

It Starts in the Beginning

It is never easy to hire the perfect employee. Sometimes people seem perfect for the job, but they are soon singing to a different tune once they land the position. However, skilled human resource personnel are able to weed out the potentially gyrating personalities not just through face-to-face interviews, but by asking the right questions to past employers.

Many employers hire new employees on a provisional, three-month trial basis to see if the candidate is good for the full-time contracted position. If an employee shows warning signs during those few months, swift termination may be the safest answer.

But if an employee is proving to be an asset to the company, it is often worth the hassle of intervening, giving warnings and attempting to correct conflicting personality problems. Good workers are hard to find and not everybody is going to get along. There will always be conflicting personalities in the workplace, but some behavior is worth putting up with when it comes to the bottom line.



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