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The problem employee: sabotaging your success

Most of us can relate to having the occasional bad day at work. But for the problem employee, negativity, poor attitude and unacceptable behaviour is “business as usual”.

Let’s go on record here to what we mean by a “problem employee”. We’re talking the chronically negative employee whose bad attitude, regular conflict with co-workers and management and generally poor performance makes him or her a threat to a positive workplace culture, company productivity and profits.

When you have a problem employee – particularly when their negative attitude is wilful or malicious – they affect (and infect) everyone around them. The most significant way a problem employee affects a business is through the decrease in morale in those who have to work with this person on a daily basis.

There are any number of reasons workers underperform. Common ones include

  • not understanding the role or management’s expectations
  • they don’t have the appropriate resources (training, support, staffing levels etc)
  • feeling unappreciated or unheard
  • challenges in their personal life (health, family relationships etc)
  • not being held to account
  • they don’t care

In most situations, the problem employee has got to this stage because they’ve been permitted to; often because of their manager’s dislike of confrontation. We’ve written previously on this topic and that a recent global study of nearly 8000 managers found that 44% of supervisors are fearful and anxious about giving negative feedback, with one fifth avoiding the practice altogether.

Whatever the reason/s for their negative behaviour, problem employees cannot be allowed to proceed unchecked, as there’s much more at risk than just their own job performance or future with the company.

So what can an employer do with a problem employee?

  • Don’t ignore the matter any longer: make the decision to act
  • Identify whether you can recover the situation with the individual and if so, whether you have the time and resources to do so. If not, you need to commence steps to manage the person out of your business.
  • Give Bare Bones Consulting a call. Our services include managing poor performance and termination of employment situations, supervisor and manager professional development, improving employee engagement, motivation and productivity…if it relates to people at work, we know what to do and how to implement the right solution for your business.

Problem? Not any more. 

  • PO Box 3956,
    Burleigh Town 4220,
  • 07 5576 4693
  • 0401 279 065
  • Bare Bones Consulting

Contact Us

Give Bare Bones Consulting a call to discuss our range of HR services to help your business succeed.

Even if you elect to not proceed after our first complimentary consultation you’ll be in a better position to know what’s possible.

We believe our approach to HR is unique... but then again, so is your business.

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Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.