Small Business Tips for Managing Difficult Employees

February 20, 2024
minutes to read
Ben Winford
Table of Contents

Performance management is an essential aspect of any organisation – large or small. It is a process that helps employees improve their performance and reach their full potential. However, sometimes, an employee may be difficult to manage, and their behaviour may negatively impact their performance and the team's productivity. In this blog, we will discuss how to manage the performance of a problematic employee so that everybody wins.

1. Identify the Problem 

The first step in managing the performance of a difficult employee is to identify the problem. It is essential to understand what is causing the employee's poor performance or challenging behaviour. This can be done by regularly conversing with the employee and gathering feedback from their colleagues and supervisor. Once you have identified the problem, you can develop a plan to address it. 

2. Develop a Plan 

The next step is to develop a plan to address the employee's performance issues. This plan should be tailored to the employee's specific needs and focused on improving their performance. The plan should be clear and detailed, outlining what the employee needs to do to improve their performance and how their progress will be monitored. 

3. Communicate Clearly 

Clear communication is critical when managing the performance of a difficult employee. You should communicate the performance expectations clearly and provide regular feedback on their progress. It is also essential to listen to the employee's input and concerns and provide support and guidance where necessary. 

4. Document Everything 

It is essential to document everything when managing the performance of a difficult employee. This includes documenting the employee's performance issues, the plan to address those issues, and the progress made. This documentation can be used as evidence in case of future disputes or legal matters. 

Check out these links for Fairwork-issued template documents relevant as of 20 April 2023: 

5. Be Consistent 

Consistency is key when managing the performance of a problematic employee. All employees should be treated fairly and consistently, and the performance management process should be the same for all employees. This will help prevent any claims of discrimination or unfair treatment. 

6. Seek Help 

Managing the performance of a difficult employee can be challenging, and it is essential to seek help where necessary. This can include seeking advice from a human resources professional or seeking support from the employee's supervisor. 

Managing the performance of a difficult employee requires patience, understanding, and a clear plan. By identifying the problem, developing a plan, communicating, documenting everything, being consistent, and seeking help where necessary, you can effectively manage the performance of a difficult employee and help them reach their full potential. Remember, managing difficult employees is a part of human resource management, and with the right approach, you can create a positive and productive work environment for everyone. 

For more information and templates for documents check out: 

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