How To Deal With Problem Employees

How To Deal With Problem Employees

Do you want to know how to deal with problem employees?

If you do, then you are not alone.

Almost every business, company, or organization has employees who are problematic in one way or the other.

Hence, every business owner and manager needs to know how to effectively deal with these employees.

This way, they would prevent their employees’ problematic behaviors and attitudes from becoming worse and negatively affecting the company.

In this article, we will share valuable information that would teach you how to effectively deal with problem employees.

So, we hope you will join us on this journey.

We will begin by looking closely at who problem employees are…

Who are Problem Employees?  – How to Deal with Problem Employees

The word ‘problem’ means a difficulty that has to be dealt with or resolved.

Therefore, problem employees are those who exhibit difficult behaviors that often lead to problems in an organization or workplace.

These people often feel like their behavior cannot harm the company.

So, they keep exhibiting those problematic behaviors and harming the company.

For example, employees with poor work ethics such as lateness might feel that their lateness cannot affect the company, when in fact it does.

Time is an essential resource that a company or organization has to utilize well to be productive.

So, when an employee keeps coming late, it will affect productivity.

Also, it could make other employees’ morale reduce.

If this happens, the productivity rate of the company would reduce.

As this is something that would not help a company or organization grow, it is seen as a problem.

Hence, that problem employee needs to be immediately dealt with to avoid further harm to the organization.

Examples of Problem Employees Traits/Behaviors – How to Deal with Problem Employees

There are different behaviors and traits that employees exhibit that can cause harm to a company or organization.

You need to be able to spot and identify these behaviors in time to ensure that you deal with them before it becomes uncontrollable.

 We will share with you some examples of problematic behaviors of employees.

This will give you an idea of those employees you should start dealing with and those you should watch out for.


The employees, who love gossiping about fellow employees, their boss, and the company, are problem employees.

These employees do not mind talking about people’s private matters to others.

As a result, it could destabilize other employees who are gossiped about.

Sometimes they might get so destabilized that their productivity would reduce.

A gossiping employee can share confidential information about their company with people who do not work in the company.

 Let’s assume that your company has a new strategy that will attract more customers to it.

Now, this strategy is meant to be kept a secret from the market and customers for it to work.

However, a gossiping employee can hear this strategy and share it with people who do not work with or in your company.

Rumors and news tend to spread out like wildfire.

Therefore, there is a possibility that people would get to know the strategy before you make use of it.

As a result, it would cause an issue for your company.

This type of employee needs to be dealt with immediately to avoid further problems for the company.

Bullying – How to Deal with Problem Employees

Bullying is not only when a person is violent towards another person.

When a person is condescending, manipulative, or contemptuous towards another person, that person is a bully.

This abusive behavior is often exhibited towards some particular individuals.

Hence, you would see a bully being nice to some people but mean to some other people.

 Bullying often makes the recipients feel abused, humiliated, threatened, or vulnerable.

As a result, those recipients often lose their confidence and self-esteem.

Employees who bully their fellow employees make them feel less of themselves.

 As a result, these people often find it hard to perform their duties and jobs well.

This often causes problems for the company.

In cases where the bullying gets out of hand, the company will be somehow held responsible for it.

Hence, bullying has to be checked and stopped in the workplace.


Arrogant people are often difficult to handle because they rarely listen to other people.

They cannot learn from people because they lack humility.

Most often, these people feel like they know everything.

As a result, they would go-ahead to do things they do not know without seeking consultation or advice.

Employees who exhibit arrogant behavior often take action and do things they do not know without asking their superiors.

When the result comes and it is not favorable, the company will have to deal with it.

Hence, this behavior is problematic and needs to be dealt with.

Check here to discover 5 ways arrogance/pride can destroy your company.

Uncivil Behaviors – How to Deal with Problem Employees

Apart from bullying, there are other uncivil behaviors that employees should not exhibit at the workplace.

Some examples of uncivil behavior are:

  • Disrespectful behaviors
  • Shouting
  • Making use of hostile tones
  • Throwing things
  • Fighting

When an employee exhibits these behaviors and more, they are problem employees.

Hence, they ought to be dealt with to avoid problems in your company.

Poor Work Ethics – How to Deal with Problem Employees

Work ethics are inherent attitude or skills that a person possesses and enables them to perform their duties with good moral values.

A person who has a good work ethic considers the moral significance or implications of the things they do.

They also establish good and clear boundaries according to their principles and values, and what they consider to be appropriate.

Employees with good work ethics are great assets to the company or organization they work for because they perform their duties well.

However, the same cannot be said for employees with poor work ethics.

This is because they do things without considering good morals; they are often lazy, undetermined, and unmotivated to do their jobs.

 Employees with poor work ethics are considered to be problem employees.

This is because they cause issues for the company they work for, rather than make things better.

Tips on How to Deal with Problem Employees

Problem employees usually cause several damages and problems for companies or organizations.

When the leadership of a company does not deal with their problem employees they are only putting their company in harm’s way.

So, every business owner needs to learn to effectively and immediately deal with problem employees.

We understand that you want to know how to deal with problem employees.

Hence, we have prepared some great tips that will provide you with the knowledge you need.

1. Do Not Ignore Them

The first thing to do when dealing with or resolving a problem is to acknowledge them.

If one does not acknowledge a problem, it will become something they are accustomed to.

As a result, the situation or problem will keep getting worst without them realizing it.

When you have problem employees, you should not sit back and watch them cause problems in your company.

Rather, acknowledge when an employee is problematic and take the necessary actions to resolve or deal with their problems.

If you keep ignoring problem employees, there is a tendency that other employees would not be comfortable or happy working in your company.

This is especially true if those employees are trying their best to avoid problem employees while expecting you to deal with them.

If your employees are not comfortable working in your company, they would most likely be less creative, innovative, and productive.

 Since you do not want that, you should wave off or ignore problem employees.

Rather, deal with them immediately so that they would not negatively influence your company’s culture or destroy your relationships with your clients or customers.

Remember at all times that you have a lot to lose when you ignore them.

2. Do Not Personalize – How to Deal with Problem Employee

When dealing with problem employees you have to ensure that you do not get personal or emotional.

Rather, stay professional and calm.

Do not personalize when you are speaking to them about their behaviors.

Keep your feelings in check and focus on the issue at hand.

Do not start condemning or speaking negatively with them, or personally attack them.

 Rather, clearly and calmly tell them how their behavior is negatively affecting your organization and its goals.

 Make the conversation free of anything that would lead to a confrontation.

Sometimes problem employees cause problems without having any ill intention towards your company.

They could cause problems due to personal problems, confusion, fear, or unconscious behavioral patterns.

So, do not attack them.

Show them you are concerned about them.

As you do that, help them understand that they have to behave properly to ensure the growth and achievement of your company’s goals.

3. Avoid Making Assumptions

You need to ensure that you do not make assumptions when dealing with problem employees.

Do not assume they know that their behaviors are harming your company.

Rather, have an open discussion with them and listen to them.

Then find out if they know that their behavior is negatively affecting your company.

If they do not know, then you should factually explain to them the impact their behavior has on your company.

Get to know if there is any personal or external factor that is influencing their behaviors or actions.

Their personal life might be a mess and they might not know that they are making it obvious in their workplace.

If your employee needs help to put their life issues in order, then you should not hesitate to offer the resources available in your company to them.

However, do not just assume that your employee’s life issues are what is contributing or causing them to exhibit problematic behaviors.

Rather, discover the main reason for their actions or behaviors and effectively address them.

When you can resolve the reason for their actions, it would be easier for you to resolve any problem or issue they might have caused.

4. Suggest Solutions or Improvement – How to Deal with Problem Employees

When you have found out the reason behind their behavior then you both can work together to find a solution.

Firstly, ask them what assistance or support they would need to become better employees or improve their behaviors.

Let them know that their work or job performance determines their contribution to the company’s success.

They should understand that when their behavior is problematic it affects their work performance.

This will probably make them open to your suggestions.

As you make your suggestions ensure that they are helpful, realistic, and measurable.

In other words, your suggestions should be capable of improving that employee behavior and action.

Understand that the same approach will not work for everybody.

So, ensure that you tailor or modify your suggestion or approach to fit each problem employee.

When they agree to whatever you suggest, they can then start working towards improving their behavior.

 5. Document Their Problematic Behaviors

When you notice or witness a troubling/problematic behavior, have it written down in accurate detail.

You should ensure that you have the date of the happening written down too.

Having proper documentation of problem employees’ behavior will help you to remember and make reference to it when discussing with them about their behavior.

For example, if you witnesses one of your employee bullying another employee, step in and resolve the matter and if necessary take disciplinary actions.

However, do not stop there, have it documented.

This way, if such an employee is caught bullying again, you can remind them of what they did before and the specific date they did it.

Hence, such an employee will not be able to lie or refuse to acknowledge and take the blame for their action.

Furthermore, having proper documentation will help protect your company from wrong accusations from that employee if you let them go.

6. Work with Your HR Department – How to Deal with Problem Employees

If you have an HR department in your company, it is best to work with them when dealing with problem employees.

The human resources department is responsible for maximizing employees’ productivity.

They are also tasked with protecting the organization or company from issues that might happen within the company’s workforce.

 This department understands companies’ policies and knows how to handle difficult situations with employees

So, they should not be left out when you are dealing with problem employees.

Rather, set meetings with them to discuss issues concerning problem employees.

You should listen to them, as they would advise you on the best way to deal with problem employees.

Also, if it is necessary to terminate the employment of problem employees, they will ensure that it is done in a way that would not cause issues.

7. Set Disciplinary Actions or Consequences

Once you have spoken to that problem employee, where required, you have to ensure that you set disciplinary actions or consequences.

 Your employee might feel like you would be lenient with them if you do not set disciplinary actions or consequences.

As a result, they might not improve even after going through the suggestion you made for them.

However, when you set disciplinary actions or consequences, they would be more inclined into doing better.

Ensure that you give a time-frame to improve their behavior.

8. Follow Up – How to Deal with Problem Employees

Provide your employee with enough time to improve their behavior and attitude.

During that period, you should follow them up.

In other words, frequently check up on them and see if they are following the plan that you both agreed on.

Whenever they derail from the plan, you should intervene to get them back on track.

When the time given to them is over, schedule a meeting with them to discuss the progress of their situation.

If you see any lapses, guide them to cover them.

When all this is done, do not take your attention off them.

Keep monitoring them.

If they go back to their problematic behavior after the training or whatever they had undergone, then you should take those disciplinary actions you set.

9. Let Go When It Becomes Hopeless

We understand that sometimes you cannot just let go of your employee because they exhibit problematic behaviors.

 This is why you have to learn to effectively deal with them by helping them out.

However, when the situation gets out of hand, it is usually best to let go of that problem employee.

You need to be realistic and wise to know when to let go.

Let’s assume you have a problem employee, who has undergone different training and has been provided with several opportunities to change.

Yet, that employee keeps exhibiting problematic behaviors time and time again.

You might have even provided personal help to them for them to change, but still, they don’t.

In this case, you are only using your company’s and personal resources on someone who does not want to change and also putting your company in harm’s way.

Therefore, it is not wise to keep this employee in your company.

So, what you ought to do is terminate their employment.

Conclusion on How to Deal with Problem Employees

When dealing with a problem employee, do not make assumptions.

Get to know why they are exhibiting those problematic behaviors and actions.

Provide help to them if they need it, and give them a chance to change.

If they do not, do not hesitate to take disciplinary actions.

Also, know when to let go of a problem employee.

Your company’s image and productivity can be damaged if you do not effectively deal with problem employees.

So, ensure that you don’t ignore their problematic behaviors and actions.