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How to Deal with Problem Employees

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1 How to Deal with Problem Employees

2 CHAPTER OVERVIEW The chapter identifies common types of problem behavior among employees. Those most likely to be encountered by supervisors are absenteeism and tardiness, insubordination and uncooperativeness,

3 Methods There are two general methods discussed to help supervisors improve employee performance: counseling and the discipline process. In addition; the State has an employee assistance program (EAP) to assist troubled employees.

4 Counseling Counseling helps employees solve their problems, which enables them to perform better at work. Supervisors should counsel employees when they need help in determining how to resolve a problem that is affecting their work. When employees have problems that supervisors are unqualified to help with, they should refer employees to a professional or HR.

5 Counseling Counseling may involve
directive counseling, in which the supervisor suggests solutions, or nondirective counseling, with the supervisor primarily listening and encouraging the employee to look for the source of the problem and identify possible solutions.

6 Discipline In administering discipline, the supervisor explains the significance and consequences of the employee’s behavior, then, if necessary, lets the employee experience those consequences. A typical process of discipline occurs in stages, with the supervisor first administering a Verbal warning, Then a Written warning then a suspension*, and finally dismissal* *Requires TAG Letter

7 Discipline The supervisor should administer discipline promptly, privately, impartially, and unemotionally. All disciplinary actions should be documented and forwarded to HR to be placed in the employee’s file.

8 Discipline Positive discipline focuses on preventing problem behavior from ever beginning. It can include making sure employees know and understand rules, creating conditions under which employees are least likely to cause problems, using decision-making leaves when problems occur, and rewarding desirable behavior.

9 Discipline The goal of positive discipline is self-discipline among employees or employees who voluntarily follow the rules and meet performance standards. Supervisors who expect self-discipline from their employees must practice it themselves.

10 Personal Problems Discipline problems may be the result of personal problems. These employees are defined as troubled employees.

11 Personal Problems When the supervisor suspects that an employee is troubled, the supervisor should document the problem, Contact HR to assist with next step then meet with the employee and describe the evidence of a problem, focusing on the employee’s performance at work.

12 EAP The employee should then be referred to a professional (EAP) for help and informed of the consequences of not getting help. Employees should be made aware that their job performance must improve. Follow up from the supervisor will be in terms of improved job performance.

13 EAP To best help their employees, supervisors should learn about their organization’s procedures and resources for assisting employees. This may involve referring employees to the organization’s employee assistance program.

14 Human Resources The supervisor may also seek the help of others in the organization. The supervisor’s human resources department can help the supervisor handle problem employees in ways that follow organization guidelines, legal requirements, and the union contract (if any).

15 Human Resources A supervisor should discuss a problem employee with Human Resources, so that the they can offer advice and provide necessary authorization for such steps as suspension or dismissal.

16 Common Types of Problem Behavior
In general, problem employees fall into two categories: (1) employees causing problems, for example by starting fights or leaving early, and (2) employees with problems, such as an employee whose money worries are a distraction from work.

17 Uncover Sources To uncover the true source of a performance problem, the supervisor might consider the following issues Whether the employee has performed better in the past Whether the employee has received proper training Whether the employee knows and understands the objectives he or she is to accomplish Whether the supervisor is providing enough feedback and support Whether the supervisor has encouraged and rewarded high performance Whether other employees with similar abilities are performing well or experiencing similar difficulties.

18 Most Common The problems that supervisors most commonly encounter are
absenteeism and tardiness, insubordination and uncooperativeness,

19 Absenteeism and tardiness
This is an expensive problem. An absent employee may be paid for the time off, or replaced with a less productive person.

20 Absenteeism and tardiness
Also, missing work is often a sign of a deeper problem. such as a family crisis, anger about something at work, or plans to leave the organization.

21 Insubordination and uncooperativeness
Insubordination: Deliberate refusal to do what the supervisor or other superior asks. Poor performance may result from not understanding how to do something. This is corrected by training. Sometimes an employee performs poorly or breaks rules because he or she chooses to do so. This may be uncooperative behavior or deliberate refusal to do what he or she is told

22 Insubordination and uncooperativeness
Many kinds of negative behavior fall into the following categories: General poor attitude criticizng, complaining, and showing dislike for the supervisor and organization Making an art out of doing as little as possible Spending most of the day socializing, joking around, or moving as slowly as possible

23 Insubordination and uncooperativeness
Regularly failing to follow rules forgetting to wear safety equipment or sign out at lunchtime Disregard for supervisor’s instruction to do something, saying it will be done later Sarcastic, hostile, or passive behavior which may be a symptom of an underlying problem

24 Substance Abuse Some poor performance such as unsafe practices, sloppy work, or frequent absences may be a symptom of personal problems off the job or possible substance abuse. These employees are expensive to the organization.

25 Substance Abuse They can hurt the organization by lower productivity.
They are more likely to quit, to cause accidents, to have a higher use of disability and sick benefits, and to increase insurance costs.

26 Substance Abuse The supervisor should note that the federal antidiscrimination law treats substance abuse as a disability, and companies should encourage the employee to get help. Any actions taken with regard to the employee should focus on work performance, not on the substance abuse itself.

27 Substance Abuse Since the supervisor is responsible for ensuring a safe workplace for employees and others, it means that if an employee’s suspected substance abuse is creating a hazard, the supervisor must act.

28 Counseling Employees If the supervisor responds to problem behavior immediately, he or she will sometimes be able to bring the problem to a quick end without complex proceedings.

29 Counseling Employees Often the most constructive way a supervisor can address problem behavior is through counseling, or learning about an individual’s personal problem and helping him or her resolve it.

30 Counseling Employees For simple problems, such as tardiness resulting from keeping late-night hours, calling the problem to the employee’s attention may lead to a solution without the supervisors help. For more complex problems, such as financial or substance abuse, the solution will be for the employee to get expert help. In either case, counseling is a cooperative process, with supervisor and employee working together.

31 Counseling Employees Counseling involves one or more discussions between the supervisor and the employee. These discussions are by nature a personal matter as well as a discussion of performance. These sessions should take place where privacy is assured and will be free from interruptions. Methods of approaching the session include directive or nondirective counseling

32 Types of Counseling Directive Counseling: An approach to counseling in which the supervisor asks the employee questions about the specific problem; when the supervisor understands the problem, he or she suggests ways to handle it. Nondirective Counseling: An approach to counseling in which the supervisor primarily listens, encouraging the employee to look for the source of the problem and to propose possible solutions.

33 Directive Counseling The most focused approach to counseling is directive counseling. Steps include asking the employee questions about the specific problem, questioning and listening until he or she understands the source of the problem, and suggesting ways to handle the problem.

34 Nondirective Counseling
The supervisor and employee will often find it most beneficial to help the employee develop and change, rather than to look only for solutions to a specific problem. In this approach, the supervisor primarily listens, encouraging the employee to look for sources of the problem and to propose possible solutions. Ideally, by working out their own solution, employees will find they have the ability to resolve their problem.

35 The Counseling Interview
The counseling interview begins with a discussion of what the problem is. Because the counseling often takes place as a result of personal problems the employee is having, he or she may be emotional during counseling sessions. The supervisor should be prepared for emotional or angry outbursts by the employee. He or she should be calm and reassure the employee that emotions aren’t innately good or bad.

36 The Counseling Interview
The next step is consideration of possible solutions and the selection of one to try. Rather than simply prescribing a solution, the supervisor can usually be more helpful by asking the employee questions that will help the employee come up with ideas of his or her own. When the supervisor and employee agree on a solution to be used, the supervisor should restate it to make sure the employee understands.

37 The Counseling Interview
The interview ends with the supervisor scheduling a follow-up meeting. This should take place after just enough time for the employee to begin seeing some results. At this meeting, the supervisor will review their plans and discuss whether the problem has been or is being resolved.

38 Administering Discipline
There is a distinction between discipline and punishment. Punishment is an unpleasant consequence given in response to undesirable behavior. Discipline is broader; it is a teaching process.

39 Discipline Process Before taking any action, the supervisor needs to have a clear picture of the problems. He or she should collect the facts before proceeding. Then the supervisor should meet with the employee and ask for his or her version of what happened. When the supervisor observes and understands the facts behind problem behavior, disciplining the employee takes place in four steps.

40 Warning (1) A warning may be written or oral.
The Adjutant General’s Department has a policy that calls for an oral warning, to be followed by a written warning if performance does not improve. The warning should contain what the problem behavior is, how the behavior affects the organization, how and by when the behavior is expected to change, and what actions will be taken if the employee’s behavior does not change .

41 Warning The usual practice is to have the employee sign the warning as an indication that the situation has been discussed with him or her. If the employee refuses to sign, the supervisor should make a note of the refusal.

42 Suspension (2) A suspension involves requiring that the employee not come to work for a set period of time. The employee is not paid for this time off. The time period can be from one day to a month, depending on the seriousness of the problem.

43 Demotion (3) A demotion is transferring an employee to a job involving less responsibility and, usually, lower pay. Some employees find a demotion a relief if they performed poorly because the job was more than he or she could handle. More often it leads to negative feelings.

44 Dismissal (3) This is also called termination, or discharge.
This will cost the organization in that it requires the organization to recruit, hire, and train a new employee. However, it may be necessary if an employee’s offense is serious or if he or she will not respond to other forms of discipline.

45 Documentation of Disciplinary Action
Employees who receive discipline sometimes respond by filing a grievance or suing the employer. To be able to justify his or her actions, the supervisor must have a record of the disciplinary actions taken and the basis for the discipline.

46 Documentation of Disciplinary Action
Remember that performance appraisal records are available on the employee. These records may show that the employee’s performance is adequate for the same problem for which the supervisor is administering discipline. This is a good reason to make sure that the performance appraisal is fair and a true reflection of the employee’s performance.

47 Documentation of Disciplinary Action
Documentation is especially important when the supervisor must terminate an employee. The employee’s file should show the steps the supervisor took leading up to termination, and should include specific behaviors that led him or her to dismiss the employee.

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