Figuring out what to do when you realize that an employee is exhibiting problem behavior can be anything but easy. But armed with the knowledge of how to take control of the situation, managers can help to avoid any further major upsets within the organization.
When an employee develops what can be seen as a chronic attitude issue, or isn’t delivering at expected levels of productivity, this can negatively affect that person’s team, raise safety concerns in certain environments, and ultimately impact the image and success of the organization.
In a recent article in Black Enterprise, I noted how easy it can be for leaders to seek what seems like a simple solution to this sort of situation: firing the employee. With today’s talent pool stocked with candidates who may seem far more worthy, getting rid of the “bad apple” employee may be a temptation that seems difficult to resist.
Before leaders take this step, they need to consider two major issues:
- It costs a company far more to recruit a new employee than to help an existing employee make changes.
- Firing an employee without due cause or proper notice can place a company in legal jeopardy.
Ideally, before resorting to firing, a company and its leaders should commit to addressing the situation with a controlled and positive approach.
These steps can help leaders deal with employees who seem to be emerging as problems for their organizations:
- Commit to finding a solution, instead of entering the situation with a mission to fire the employee.
- Research the situation thoroughly from all angles to figure out the real issues at play.
- Speak with the employee to:
- Establish a partnership with the person and a common commitment to find a solution
- Allow him/her the opportunity to share his/her perspectives
- Express concern over how the behavior affects the company
- Ensure that the employee is not in denial
- Build a workable plan that:
- Includes practical milestones that the employee should achieve
- Assesses any need for training or retraining
- Agrees on a timeframe for the changes
As with any crisis, a manager who handles a problem employee effectively, with a positive outcome for the wider organization, gains the invaluable respect of workers and peers alike.
Sharon Daniels is CEO of AchieveGlobal in Tampa, Florida