Dealing with difficult employees

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In theory, difficult or unruly employees should be few and far between. The vast majority of workers want to do well in their jobs so that they can secure a pay rise, for example, or progress in their careers. Even those who aren’t so keen on their jobs often go along with the rules because they’re concerned about attracting the attention of managers and disciplinary panels.

However, for a small minority, breaking the rules – even at work – seems to be an unbreakable habit. From behaving unprofessionally towards colleagues to risking the reputation of the organisation by drinking on the job, managers have seen it all before. If you find yourself in a sticky situation like this, though, you have got options.

Inappropriate behaviour

Sadly, bullying still occurs in lots of workplaces – and it can have devastating effects on how a team operates. Rigorous interview procedures with plenty of opportunities to demonstrate teamwork skills are one possible way to prevent hiring any bullies, but it’s not always possible to screen for this in advance. Having a zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy in place, though, can have some impact on the rate of incidents.

In the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, meanwhile, incidents of workplace sexual harassment have also increasingly come to light in a whole host of different industries. In the event that accusations of this sort of inappropriate behaviour are made in your workplace, it is important to both take the allegation seriously and also to have a robust fair hearing process in place so that all sides can have their say. Depending on the wishes of the complainant, you may also wish to consider the involvement of the police.

Drinking and drugs

No matter what sort of organisation you lead, employees who drink or even take drugs on the job can cause significant problems. This is especially true if you work in an environment where concentration is required all the time, such as a driving-focused sector. Using a Matrix Diagnostics drug testing kit is one way to get the peace of mind that you need, and there are several different options available, including urine samples.

Theft from the employer

To many, stealing from an employer is something that’s both wrong but also silly – as it’s so easy to get caught. However, to some, the thrill of theft becomes an addiction, and one “loan” from the petty cash tin can quickly become a large-scale scam. Regular auditing is a good way to locate any incidents of stealing, while you may also want to consider installing CCTV in stock rooms.

Managing these tricky situations, then, is clearly not easy. However, while it’s never pleasant to launch a disciplinary process or get an external authority involved, it’s important to make sure that steps are taken to prevent any workplace miscreants from causing havoc. Whether you’ve got an on-site drug user or you suspect that someone is stealing, taking action to prevent any further problems is essential.

The Editor

I wish it was satire.