In this write up, I will be discussing about a topic that is a major concern for employers, what steps should employers take to address behavioural issues among employees?
It is important that organisations monitor employees and their behaviours, since problems could result in a drop in productivity for the organisation, and even litigation issues in some cases.Therefore, organisations generally put in place rules that define and govern the expectations and conduct of both management and employees. For some organisations they have in place a comprehensive disciplinary policy, whilst others in addition to this have a Whistle-blowing Hotline and designated email address where complaints can be lodged.
Let's look at two common problems:
1) ATTITUDINAL PROBLEMS
Hence, when an employee joins an organisation, he or she should review and agree to the organisation's rules, policies, procedures, code of conduct and discipline policy, which must be clearly defined.
Terms such as "Poor Performance" and "Gross Misconduct" may need additional definition, so everyone is clear about what is acceptable and what is not. E.g. Being Rude to a customer.
2) TIME MANAGEMENT
Unplanned absences cost employers a lot, and if it were to be quantified in monetary terms, employees may be able to understand the negative impact of unplanned absences on the bottom line of the organisation.
(I) For example, when employees do not finish an assignment in a timely manner, the work of other employees may be impacted. As a result, clear guidelines must be given, e.g. before taking a day off employees must do proper handover.
(ii) There are too many cases of employees not using their time at work for the employers’ business, but rather they use their time to attend to personal matters e.g. checking personal emails etc. The expectation is that: WHEN AT WORK, WORK!!
(iii) Getting to work on time, and the period taken for lunch breaks also matter. Some employers give an allowance of an extra 5-10 minutes to accommodate any lateness. If the employee is not managing that time wisely, then the company ultimately loses.
What can employers do?
1) Don't ignore the problem: it could become a progressive problem and escalate.
2) Intervene as soon as possible: As soon as the negative behaviour pattern becomes evident. The employee may not even realize that his/her behaviour is an issue.
3) Research the problem: armed with facts and data, address the issue directly. Do not personalize it, and do not shout! Shouting displays a lack of control over the employee and the situation. People perform better when they have respect for their leader and not when they fear their leader. Shouting dilutes respect and instills fear. It also demonstrates a leader's professional immaturity.
4) Where possible, coach and help the employee to get back on track. They need time and practice in "trying on" new and more suitable behaviour.
5) If all fails, Termination may be necessary. If the employee continues to deny his inappropriate behaviour and refuses to try to improve the situation, place the person on the fast track towards termination.
Yes, it is true that sometimes employers find it difficult to handle unacceptable employee behaviour, however I would like to conclude with a saying I like very much: "The problem with the problem, is not the problem but a leader or an organisation's approach and attitude in handling the problem".
Next publication, we will be looking at managing employee behavioural issues, which will elicit approaches organisations should use in managing their employees' behaviour through a good discipline policy.
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