4 Types of Difficult Employees and How to Deal With Them

Unfortunately, a least one difficult employee can be found at most workplaces. And most don’t usually seem to rear their ugly-head until after hiring. At this point, you are left to manage them. There’s the person who always shows up late holding a coffee. The employee that always CC’s in the world yet never replies to emails. Or even that employee with the constant perma-frown, dampening the mood around the office. Are these sackable offences? Not in isolation. Yet, what can you do to manage these employees in a compliant manner?

While there are many different types of employees, we have put together the four main types of difficult employees and how to deal with them.

The Snoozer

A snoozer shows up about a half hour late most days at work. Sometimes there is a valid excuse, other times, there is a steaming hot latte in one hand and a bagel in the other. A few times might be okay, but when there is a pattern occurring, it is clear that standards of professionalism in the workplace are not being upheld.

How to deal?

It is time to start managing this employee’s conduct. If there is a pattern of showing up late for work, this is fair call to issue a warning and give the employee a change to fix their behaviour. The employee may not even know their tardiness is causing a problem. However, if a warning has been issued, and the employee continues to disregard their start time, this may be grounds for termination.

The Grump

No one wants to be around someone with a bad attitude. But in a workplace, this is often times unavoidable. Of course in an interview and in the first couple of months of employment, people will attempt to put their best foot forward. But after a while, true colours start to show, and that glowing, bubbly new recruit you hired can turn into a monster. But what can you do? Can you fire someone simply for rudeness?

How to deal?

The first thing to do with a grumpy employee is offer the benefit of the doubt. Ask if there is anything going on at home, or if there is something at work which is causing them to have a negative attitude. If the employee answers yes, see what you can do to remedy the situation. For example, maybe their rudeness is caused from a clash with another employee, or maybe they feel over-worked. This way you can manage the situation from there.

However, if this doesn’t solve the bad attitude problem, then the next step is to go over your company Code of Conduct with the employee. If your employee is carrying him or herself in a way that doesn’t align with your Code of Conduct, issue a warning.

Finally, if the attitude continues and multiple warnings have been issued, then consider transitioning the Grump out of the business. Dealing with someone who is a negative to be around at work can have serious impacts on morale.

The Patient

This is the employee that is always sick. They’ve gone over their allotted paid sick days, but this doesn’t faze them. They are continually absent from work with a different ailment each time. You want to be understanding, yet the work just isn’t getting done.

How to deal?

The law in Australia requires that someone must be absent from work due to illness up to three months before you can look for someone else to fill the position. So, within that three month period, the best way to manage a Patient is to always require a medical certificate. Whenever you are in doubt of an employee’s actual health and ability to perform their job, ask for a medical proof.

The Bludger

Unfortunately, these types of employees are prevalent. They are at work, but they aren’t actually doing work. They show up to meetings, send the occasional email, yet their productivity just isn’t reflecting the hours spent at work.

How to Deal?

Dealing with a Bludger calls for some Performance management. To ensure employees are meeting expectations, schedule regular performance reviews. In this session, you can identify your expectations of your employee’s output and offer a subsequent review period. If the bludging continues through the review period, you have reason to think about terminating that employee.

HRA Cloud offers Online Performance Reviews, guidance for employee counselling and recording functionality for documentation such as medical certificates to help you track your management of difficult employees. For more information, or how you can claim your complimentary call to our HR Telephone Advisory Service, contact us