Having difficult members of staff is a relatively common problem that organisations face, but it is an essential part of employee management for it to be dealt with.
It can seem appealing to ignore the issue and hope it will resolve itself, but the truth is that inaction could send the wrong message to other members of staff, who may be tempted to act in a similar way.
Intervening as early as possible will send out the signal that disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated – but it is important to make sure the situation is researched first.
For example, the employee might be disruptive due to a wider problem, such as a personal issue that has arisen at home, or a medical factor such as stress.
Alternatively, they may be suffering from a lack of motivation in the workplace.
Knowing the source of the behaviour can make it easier for bosses to deal with difficult staff in a proactive manner.
It is a good idea to put together a plan on how the issue will be confronted – going in without some sort of strategy could lead to all sorts of problems further down the line.
The employee needs to be made aware that their behaviour is not acceptable and what will happen to them if it continues. Having a conversation with a difficult employee is important and is the start of correcting their behaviour.
Managers must ensure they comply with legal requirements relating to the fairness of their actions, especially where the action might ultimately result in the employee’s dismissal.
For example, making sure the employee is aware of what they are doing wrong, is given an opportunity to explain their actions, and that the employer’s decision is a considered one taking into account any explanations given. It can be evidence of unfairness if the employee was denied the opportunity to have someone of their choosing assist them in the meeting, Having outside observers can also avoid arguments over what was said in the meeting.
Setting out the disciplinary process that will be followed in the staff handbook so workers will know how situations will be dealt with when they arise, is also good practice that can help avoid ending up before industrial tribunals.
A disciplinary interview is a great way to understand the employee and for them to understand you and can help resolve any issues. Notify them of the interview with our Notice to Attend Disciplinarily Interview which you can use to ensure that you follow the correct procedure in this process.