Wendywoman on Managing an Errant Employee…

Reporter query:

I’m looking to find a workplace expert to help with this story: How do you manage an errant employee? This is the employee who comes in late, has excuses for not getting work done, etc. I would need three tips on how to handle the employee (i.e. schedule a time to speak to her about the issue, give her a warning, etc.). We would also need one expert quote on dealing with errant employees

Most employees do not wake up every morning with a goal of pissing off the boss. The first step is to determine what is driving the behavior. Is there a problem at work or a problem at home that may be contributing to the problem behavior. I personally ask myself 3 questions when dealing with erratic employee behavior:

1. Are they the right employee for the company? Do they have the right values that align with the company’s values? If the answer is no, consider the investment sunk costs and move on. If the answer is yes, proceed to 2.

2. Are they in the right job? My experience has been that often employees who are acting out are not happy because they have been put into a role where do not have the best opportunity to be successful. We have seen a lot of this in the past few years with the consolidation that occurs as a result of downsizing. Those left behind get shuffled around and often end up in jobs that they are not perfectly suited for. All of a sudden a great employee turns into a poor performer with bad work habits. Considering administering a Clifton StrengthsFinder. This will provide you with insight as to the top 5 strengths the employee has so that you can make sure that you are maximizing their contribution to the organization. If they are put into a role that plays to their strengths, you will get maximum performance versus maximum mediocrity.

3. With technology playing such a prevalent role in the workplace, it is sometimes easier to email or text than to talk to people. As a result, leaders have often lost touch with what is going on in an employee’s personal life. It is a leader’s job to develop a level of intimacy and engagement that provides them insight into what may be going on at home that is impacting performance at the office. Often what you see at the office is only a symptom of something more sinister at home. By providing a level of support and empathy, you may be able to help turn the situation around, making it a win-win for everyone.