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Human Resources Advice for Dealing with a Difficult Employee


Managing difficult employees is one of the hardest parts of having a business. Insubordinate employees can pose safety risks in the workplace, endanger the business from a legal standpoint and be damaging to its reputation. For everyone’s benefit, poor performance and misbehaviour must be addressed to prevent issues from arising in the future. Here’s what employers need to know about protecting their business and dealing with a difficult member of staff.

What Managers Can Do

Managers should be consistent with their expectations, clearly communicate their concerns and provide specific examples of what needs to change. Some best practices for managers include the following:

  • Documenting instances of poor performance and inappropriate behaviour
  • Notifying the employee of consequences if the issue persists
  • Giving suggestions of how the employee can change for the better
  • Providing additional training if necessary
Protecting Your Business

Documenting problems you’ve had with the employee and the steps you took serve as evidence that you did everything you could as a manager to help them improve. This protects your business if you decide to fire the employee and if a lawsuit is filed against you.

Seeing from the Employee’s Perspective

Sometimes problematic behaviour can be caused by something work-related. When facing a difficult employee, managers should try to figure out the cause of the issue. Perhaps the employee is stressed, overworked or is facing conflict with coworkers. By asking and listening, managers can support employees by acknowledging their struggles and developing solutions with them. To encourage progress, managers should check in regularly to ensure employees are staying on track and making the necessary improvements.

Are you facing an issue with one of your employees?

Every situation is different and each requires thoughtful and cautious management. Getting advice from professionals can save your business from escalating problems and costly mistakes. Contact our HR experts today: 1 (833) 247-3652.