The foolproof way to Manage Problem Employees without Mulling over Termination
Wednesday, February 1, 2017 5:49:37 PM

Building a talent pool is a bit like getting a customized business suit stitched for yourself—no pun intended! First, you need to select the custom fabric (read: identifying a slew of appropriate resumes), pick up the patterned lining as per your choice (choosing the right candidates), finalize the right design for your business suit (deploying candidates at the appropriate places), and at the end, getting it stitched (making your talent pool work efficiently towards the organizational objectives). However, very much like getting a customized business suit stitched, the process of building and maintaining a highly effective talent pool isn’t a cakewalk. There’re unpredictable headwinds…trials and tribulations, almost at every corner!

Problematic employees are one of such ‘mismatched threads’ in your close-to-your-heart customized business suit (read: the talent pool). You hire them for a reason, make them a part of the team, and expect them to perform in tandem with other teammates. With your disgruntled employees, everything turns the other way round.

Now, who’re these problematic or disgruntled employees? Well, they come in several types. Some of them are bottom- performers, some are unmanageable, and some face difficulty getting along with other teammates.

Irrespective of industries, organizations can pay heed to a few effective ways to manage problem employees without mulling over termination. Here are some of them:

Transparent feedback is the key: Most of the time, employees don’t even know that they aren’t performing up to par until it’s very late. Highlighting this issue, Margarita Graham, AVP of Human Resource Management at an Advertising Agency, said, “While giving feedback to a problem employee, always make sure that the employee must know that there are some issues in his/her performance. Instead of confrontation or heated arguments, provide constructive and consistent feedback so that he/she comes to know where he/she stands and obviously, give him/her a chance to improve. It can be done by providing additional mentorship, training, or guidance.”

Stay honest…honesty pays, after all:Yes, it holds true for managing unmanageable employees as well. Continual discussions always hold the promise of success. According to Graham, “Once you’ve had clear and honest conversations with such employees. Once you become more supportive instead of being accusatory. You’ll be better able to lead such employees in the right direction.”

The sooner you act, the better you can manage: Once you identify the black sheep of your team, never delay to address him/her. Talk to the person at the earliest, be specific about the employee’s poor performance during your discussion, and ask if there is any other issue behind this. Always remember that individual employee has an individual motivational factor. Identifying the motivational factor for your problem employee will be half the battle won.

Be clear about the consequences if things remain unchanged: Get specific about the consequences if things remain unchanged after a certain point. But how can you be specific about such things? Graham has put emphasis on setting the deadline. She has revealed, “Setting the deadline is an important aspect to address behavioral or performance-related issues at the workplace. Say like if I do not see this specific behavior or outcome by x date, this is what will happen: like you’ll be put on a performance improvement program or you’ll be let go.”

If you master these approaches while dealing with problem employees in your team, it will give you an edge even in tough situations—no matter how things turn out to be.