Almost every business owner or manager in the light industrial sector must inevitably deal with difficult employees at some point. These individuals are problematic because they take up a disproportionate amount of time, which can hurt the efficiency and productivity of your company. But by learning how to effectively handle problem employees the right way, you can minimize disruptions and keep operations running smoothly.

Face Problems Head On

It’s common for many managers to ignore problem employees and put off the issue in hopes that it will go away on its own. But in most cases, the problem will only get worse if it’s not addressed. That’s why it’s important to respond promptly and take action. While it’s not always easy, this is critical if you expect to find a solution. Ideally, you will meet with an employee one-on-one or with an additional person to document the event in a private setting.

Handle it Professionally

When diving into the problem, you don’t want to go on gossip or hearsay. Instead, everything should be based on either direction, observation or proven facts. It’s best to take your own personal emotion out of it and remain impartial when speaking with an employee. Be sure to have some type of data or examples readily available so they can fully understand which behavior is unacceptable.

Focus on the Problem – Not the Person

It’s best to not take an approach where you’re accusing the person of misconduct to the point where it becomes an attack. Rather, it’s better to put your attention on the behavior that’s causing the problem. For instance, it’s best to “use “I” statements like “I need everybody on the team here on time so we can meet our goals” rather than “you” statements like “you are always late.” This allows you to effectively deal with the issue in a nonthreatening way, and an employee is more likely to respond in a positively and not feel like they’re under attack.

Explain the Consequences of Further Misbehavior

For your discussion to have a legitimate impact, it’s necessary that an employee understands what will happen if they continue to engage in misconduct. Whether it’s suspension without pay, losing out on promotions or full-on termination, employees are more likely to respond when they know what the consequences will be. Otherwise, there’s no real motivation to change if there’s no negative impact for their actions.

Although dealing with difficult employees in the light industrial sector isn’t always pleasant, it’s something that must be done in order to retain order and prevent a toxic workplace. By following these guidelines, you should be able to address and correct problems in an effective manner and prevent problem behavior from persisting.

Reach out to our expert staffing team for more management and hiring advice.


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