Handling Employee Relations Issues – Some Special Considerations

by | May 11, 2010 | Blog, Employee Relations

  • Amy Letke

    Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success. Contact us for more insights - 502-753-0970 or info@integrityhr.com

This blog posting is the final post in the employee relations issues series.  Here are the first two posts if you missed them.

Handling Employee Relations Issues – Part 1
Handling Employee Relations Issues – Part 2

Some Special Considerations When Handling Employee Relations Issues

Always be prepared to diagnose and determine whether your employee is suffering from a simple a bad mood or from a more serious bad attitude. Is the event that brought this employee to your office a single one-time out of character act or is it a systemic pattern of behavior? That’s not to say that inappropriate behavior done just one time shouldn’t be addressed, but you should be prepared to understand that everyone has a bad day every now and again.

Also be prepared to be confronted with some of your own behaviors, as in the employee telling you “Well, Mr. Pot, this is Mr. Kettle, and you’re black, too!”. If you and the rest of the management team, and even – no, especially – the CEO of your company are not exhibiting the behaviors you expect of this employee, your attempt to change him will fail from the onset.  This could be the symptom of poor management.

You will also need to be prepared to receive some personal revelations from the employee that explain, if not defend, the behavior. Perhaps they are going through a divorce, a family crisis, had a loved one die, or are having some severe financial difficulties. While they still need to change their inappropriate behavior, they may also need some serious help for a legitimate problem. Be prepared to share details of your Employee Assistance Program with them.  If you don’t have one, there are many companies who offer professional coaching for just this situation.

And for those of who you say, This is too much. Can’t we just fire them and move on? We’re an at-will state – we don’t even have to tell them we’re firing them because they just drive us crazy. Well, that’s true, provided there is nothing that can be inferred or implied as an illegal reason for firing them. For more about that, read our employment at will resources.

However, remember that we are dealing with an otherwise good performer, or else we’d be disciplining them based on performance. So, if they are a good performer and have the knowledge and the skills to do the job well, wouldn’t it be worth it to see if they also had it in them to change their behaviors and get on the bus with the rest of the team? Some of them just won’t, no matter what you do. But some of them will, once you show them that you have the faith that they can. And these are the employees that can often work wonders.

If you’re struggling with employee relations issues at your company, you may want to take a look at using assessments and in-depth background checks for your recruiting processes.  If you’d like better employees for your organization, download our whitepaper now.

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