Dealing with Difficult People

How to deal with difficult employees

how to deal with difficult employees
Every business has one or more employees with bad attitudes. Some employees will show their good side in the presence of the owner or manager.  These employees may have an attitude with their co-workers as well. Other employees with bad attitudes will be themselves in the presence of both management and staff members. This type of employee is commonly referred to as a hard core employee with major attitude issues.

Employees are not born with bad attitudes; they were either developed or created by others actions.

Dealing with Difficult People can be a challenge. Employees generally want to do the right thing for the right reasons. There are many reasons why some, not all staff members become difficult employees.

How to deal with difficult employees

In a way these types of employees are developed into problem employees.

Examples are:

  1. Bad Interviewing / hiring practices
  2. No reference check or background check conducted
  3. Substandard training
  4. Management silent of approval
  5. Management inconsistency
  6. Bad work environment

How did this type of employee development occur?

How to deal with difficult employees

Bad interviewing practices

Managers who are not trained correctly in hiring quality employees may hire employees that had bad attitudes from the previous employer. Not asking the right questions will lead to bad interviewing and hiring practices. Learn how to hire quality employees.

How to deal with difficult employees

No reference checks / background check

If you do not conduct a reference check or background check on your employees you are inviting problems in your business, which may result in loss of revenue because of your bad hiring practices.

How do you know what that particular employee is all about? You cannot rely on your interviewing crystal ball method or what the candidate said to you during the interviewing process. The only way to really know that employees past work history are going to the source, the past employers.

How to deal with difficult employees

What kind of questions should I be asking during a reference check?

  • Employee hiring date
  • Reason why they separated from the past employers
  • Start and ending employment dates
  • Strengthens and weaknesses
  • Attitude issues
  • Will you rehire the employee?
  • Anything else you can tell me that will help me in deciding if this employee will be a good fit for my business?

How to deal with difficult employees

What can I gain from doing a reference check?

Hopefully you will be hiring a quality employee with no or very little attitude issues.

Use the telephone reference check form to help you in hiring quality employees.

How to deal with difficult employees

Paying new hires more money with less experience

If a new hire with less experience is paid more than your existing employees that may create animosity between employees. If you do hire and pay these employees more money than your existing employees make sure during the hiring or orientation process the new hire understands not to divulge any payroll information with another staff member. These must be kept private between the hiring manager and the new hire.

How to deal with difficult employees

Little or no training

Providing little or no workplace training will create a restaurant full of issues. Your employees will get flustered or confused and will result in a chaotic run restaurant with bad customer service attached to it.

Furthermore, these employees will lose respect for managers and other staff members simply because of the stress created by these practices

To understand why training is so important: Training in an Investment not an Expense

Learn more on quality training and training techniques

How to deal with difficult employees

Management silent of approval

Managers that allow problems to persist in restaurants or walks by on-going issues without correcting them is commonly referred to as management silent of approval.

During the manager’s walk-through and figure eights the manager needs to take off his or her side blinders. Managers need 360 degree eye sight to properly recognize and correct on-going issues in their restaurants.

Managers who create silent of approval during their shifts will not be respected because they are the problem.

How to deal with difficult employees

Management  Inconsistency

Inconsistency among managers is more of a problem then you can imagine. Many managers have it’s my way or the highway attitude.

Managers and supervisors need to be on the same page in every way; systems, policies and procedures are non-negotiable. Management should be doing the same things on every shift to prevent employee confusion.

Imagine managers doing their own thing on every shift, employees will get confused because they are not sure on how to do their job correctly. It’s almost as if each shift is a different restaurant with its own set of rules and agenda’s.

Some employee’s will side with the easiest manager and who will let them get away with most anything.

Do restaurant staff training the right way to be consistent from shift to shift. Owners and General Managers should be doing unannounced visits or audits to ensure the restaurant and its shifts are run correctly and consistently.

Write ups and action plans should be utilized as tools to re-train and motivate your managers and staff.

How to deal with difficult employees

Management or staff members disrespecting that particular employee

Managers that are not trained in how to communicate properly to employees or managers that blatantly disrespect the staff members are widely disrespected themselves.

There are some managers who say it is my way or the highway. These managers have their own agenda.  First of all it is not the manager’s way; it is the corporation or owners’ way. Restaurants are run typically by systems, policies and procedures.

Restaurants that are functional and run correctly have managers that are on the same page and these manager’s ensure that systems, policies and procedures are adhered to.

How to deal with difficult employees

Steps to correct employee related issues

One on one verbal communication: Think before you say on how you are going to communicate this quick fix to your employees.

Always talk to your employees away from other staff members and customers.

Starts off positive by telling the employee what they are doing correctly and that you value them as an employee. Let them know what they are doing incorrectly and express what is needed to rectify the issue. Explain to them by fixing the problem will help make the shift run more functional. This will also ease the friction between employees who are doing the right thing and the ones who are not. End by saying if this issue is not corrected steps will be taken to a higher level, which may include a physical write up, suspension or termination.

How to deal with difficult employees

Employee write-up

Set up a 1, 2, and 3 you’re out write up policy. When writing up employees keep in mind the severity of the violation. If the same violation is violated twice it counts as 2 write ups. Employee write-up form | How to write up an employee

Develop an action plan during the employee write up process. Use the smart method when developing the action plan.

Smart is the acronym giving criteria to guide in the setting of objectives.

Developing SMART goals

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time Bound

What is a paper trail?

A written evidence of someone’s activities

In today’s world you need a paper trail of your employee’s activities. What happens if you need to attend an unemployment hearing?  Without the proper documentation you may lose the unemployment case. What happens if you are sued by a past employee for firing them or letting them go without due cause. The burden of proof falls on you. You need to prove why they were fired or let go.

Some violations are automatic terminations such as:

  • Drug use on the job
  • Alcohol use on the job
  • Insubordination
  • Foul language in view of a customer
  • Physically Fighting or assault
  • Theft
  • Integrity Issues

Let’s face it, some employee attitudes can’t be fixed.

The best way to minimize or prevent employee attitude issues is by being proactive.

How to deal with difficult employees

Being Proactive: fix the issue before it’s a problem.

Proper screening, interviewing, reference checks, hiring, training, write ups, action plans and management being fair / consistent will definitely reduce employee attitudes and other employee related issues.

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