Helping Difficult Employees Find Success

Steps to Guide an Employee to a Happier Work Life

As an HR professional, it can be difficult to help an employee who has endless excuses or a closed-off persona. SHRM asked HR professionals across the country to share their methods of reaching tough employees, and we found these tips and answers especially helpful.

Identify the Root of the Issues

Start by letting go of all assumptions that you typically have about an employee. You can’t know if employees are careless, love their job, hate their job or are just not cut out for the role until you speak with them. You may be surprised what you learn about a person when you ask open-ended questions. Uncovering the root of the issue helps you create an actionable solution for your employee and your business.

Employee Creates the Plan for Improvement with the Manager’s Guidance

After you have successfully discovered the underlying problem, have the employee create a specific and actionable plan they will utilize to achieve success with the performance issues they are having. The employee must own the problem. It is the manager’s role to influence and adjust the plan created by the employee. Once a plan has been created, establish regular check-ins and assistance to help keep your employee on the right track. For example, realigning work to be a better fit for the employee, establishing procedures or processes to address the issue(s), or targeted training may help the employee realize their potential.

Set Your Focus on Improvement

Lastly, it is important to set boundaries and establish consequences if bad behavior continues or is repeated. According to Forbes, a good manager recognizes that encouragement should precede consequences. Not only does encouragement reinforce positive actions, it can inspire people and instill confidence. But if the behavior doesn’t change, consequences are vital. For instance, a consequence of poor performance or behavior could range anywhere from a weekly check-in meeting to a discussion regarding eventual termination if the problem cannot be resolved.

The HSD Touch

You can also keep your hand on the pulse of employee sentiment by conducting stay interviews. Stay interviews help employers gather direct and honest information from current employees. By using stay interviews, employers can identify problem areas and red flags before turnover occurs.

At HSD Metrics, our Stay Interviews may be completed online with the data populating instantly to 24/7 secure web portals, where findings are easily retrieved and analyzed. Not only do you receive findings by targeted groups or departments, but you may also utilize other robust features of analysis including charts, data filtering, commentary analysis, and information on which groups, locations, or business units have the greatest retention challenges. Stay Interviews may also be compared with ExitRight interview data to better pinpoint issues common to individuals who ultimately leave the organization.

Have you had success with stay interviews in the past? Would you like to learn more about how stay interviews can help your business? Contact HSD Metrics at (800) 295-1863 or through our online contact form.

About Deb Dwyer

Deborah Dwyer is the founder and president of HSD Metrics. With over 30 years of combined experience in human resource management and survey research, Deborah’s extensive knowledge reaches beyond organizational research to include significant expertise in work climate improvement, retention, hiring and selection, employee orientation, performance management systems, recognition programs, and career development systems.

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