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In our last article we discussed Due Process and the typical progressive process. In this article, we will be making recommendations on how to confront the disruptive employee as well as give you suggestions on how to administer the corrective action process.
Confronting the Disruptive Employee
When initiating corrective action, the supervisor or HR professional must have a frank and straightforward discussion with the employee. When the employee’s problem behavior causes workplace disruption, the discussion must address the behavior without attacking the employee and destroying the underlying relationship.
When meeting with a disruptive employee, keep the following points in mind:
- Agreement about existence of problem behavior. A primary purpose of the meeting is to reach an agreement that a problem exists. The meeting should be held in a private place free of distractions or interruptions, with sufficient time to complete the discussion. The supervisor or manager should state the meeting’s purpose and provide reassurance that the intent is to gain the employee’s perspective, not to blame the employee or establish guilt or innocence.
- Commitment to change. The employee must understand that he or she must commit to behavioral changes. The manager must explain the specific consequences of failure to change the problem behavior, including termination. The manager may also want to reassure the employee of the developmental nature of the meeting and to give encouragement while stressing that it is the employee’s responsibility to make adjustments to his or her behavior to correct the problem.
- Underlying causes. If a psychological disorder, substance abuse, domestic violence, or other mental or emotional factors may be contributing to the behavioral problem, Pinnacle’s HR department should be contacted. However, impairment does not excuse the behavior, and the corrective action process should continue if the employee’s behavior does not stop.
- Anticipating the employee’s response. The supervisor or manager must be prepared for a variety of responses from the employee—including anger, intimidation, tears, emotional despair, complaining, blaming, silence, and unwillingness to acknowledge the problem. Ultimately, the key to managing disruptive employees is to distinguish the person from his or her behaviors. Honoring an employee’s right to be treated honestly, courteously and respectfully aligns equity on the side of the manager and allows the relationship to survive the problem.
- Documenting the discussion. Disruptive individuals are more likely to challenge disciplinary actions or other efforts to correct their behavior. Therefore, it is vital for the supervisor or manager to document the employee’s misconduct accurately and thoroughly, using concrete examples and specific details, as well as the details of the meeting and its outcome.
Tips for Successful Administration of Corrective Action
- Conducting the action in a private place to avoid embarrassment.
- Maintaining a professional and calm demeanor while remaining firm.
- Locating a witness for later verification of a work rule infraction, if possible.
- Following established policy and past practice regarding the administration of progressive disciplinary steps.
- Remembering that the corrective action is intended to change behavior, not get employees in trouble.
- Avoiding surprises by using the corrective action process to give the employee reasonable opportunity to change the offending behavior.
- Understanding that ignoring a problem, making excuses or being overly sympathetic will not make it go away.
- Do not reduce the employee’s hours and hope that the issue resolves itself. Reduction in hours can result in unemployment claims as well as potential legal action.
- Assume that most employees want to know if they are in violation of work rules or acting inappropriately.
- Making sure that discipline is always consistent with business necessity, and having documentation that shows the action is taken for legitimate business reasons.
Pinnacle’s HR Department’s role
Pinnacle’s HR Department provides support to Managers and Team Leaders for HR’s more serious issues. These issues can include falsifying records, workplace bullying, substance abuse and theft. Our team of experts is here to assist you. For more information regarding performance management, please contact Pinnacle’s Human Resources department at HR@pinnaclepeo.com