Problem Employees: Identifying Them & Managing Strategies

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Problem Employees: Identifying Them & Managing Strategies

When you reach the point with your business that you’re in a position to hire staff, it’s a real “I’ve made it” moment. Not only is your idea enough to sustain your own lifestyle, but you can now expand and provide work opportunities for others. Your business is rolling, the future is bright, and you’ll soon have at least one other person to help share the workload.



For the most part, you will find the staff that you hire are excellent employees. While there is always the risk of hiring someone who looks good on paper but isn’t so great in practice, for the most part, you’ll do just fine. If you’re really lucky, you’ll be able to hire people who are as focused on business success as you are – and with whom you can reach new heights for your company.




There is, however, a cautionary note to be sounded. You can hire someone who fits the bills on paper. In terms of the way they then work, they can fit the bill in that regards as well. They do their job and they do it well – so that’s about all you can ask for, isn’t it?

Not quite. There is always the chance you will find yourself dealing with a Problem Employee; capitals absolutely necessary. These are the kind of employees that you just can’t fault when it comes to their work. They complete their assigned tasks, they are helpful, they are productive… but they are nevertheless problematic. Learning to identify – and then cope with – Problem Employees is a stiff learning curve that you’ll need to go through, especially if you plan on expanding in the future.

There are several varieties of Problem Employees. Below, let’s detail these varieties, and we’ll also offer some coping strategies to ensure your business can survive them.

Type #1 – The Complainer

The Complainer has a tendency to, well, complain about everything. That’s how they got the name. While they do their work, they will complain about the entire process. They’re the kind of people who will send a dish back in a restaurant for being too cold, then be annoyed the food is too hot to eat when it’s returned to them. Complainers are disruptive, finding fault where there isn’t any fault to be found, revelling in the feeling of being shortchanged.

How To Handle Them: Every time they offer a criticism, ask them for a solution. Anyone can make complaints, but it takes a dynamic kind of thinking to be able to think of a better option. Over time, they will only speak up about genuine issues rather than just complaining for the sake of it.

Type #2 – The Excuse-Peddler

While they tend to get their work done in a timely fashion, an Excuse-Peddler is always looking for a way out of doing so – especially if it’s not their fault. They can’t do this because it’s too cold in the office; they can’t do that because someone else is taking their time delivering part of it. They’re always looking for fault, always looking to blame the company or their fellow employees for their own failings.



How To Handle Them: First and foremost, you need to protect yourself against any of their more spurious claims by ensuring you find liability insurance rates and take out a good policy. Secondly, try and keep them separate from their fellow staff members so they are less disruptive as a result.

Type #3 – The Gossip

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Problem Employees: Identifying Them & Managing Strategies

Office gossip has been a problem for as long as offices have existed. Even back in the Stone Age, there was undoubtedly someone around the cave who was always nattering about the next village over. Gossiping is part of human nature, but it’s also incredibly unproductive in a workplace environment. Not only is it a distraction from what they should be doing, but it can also make their coworkers feel uncomfortable in the extreme.

How To Handle Them: Again, separating them from fellow staff members is a good idea – give them individual projects with tight deadlines to keep them occupied. Furthermore, just make the effort of shutting down any discussion whenever you hear it. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to join in or show any sign you think it’s a good idea for a work environment. This is going to mean you have to fight back against your own natural curiosity, but it’s better for your business as a whole if you manage to do just that.

So while you might have a Problem Employee, from now on you should have a good idea of how to handle them.

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