The ever-popular Jeanette Whitham, Head of Schools HR Team at Lancashire County Council, presented at the LASBM conference in June. At the start of the new school year 2015/2016, we asked her to summarise her top tips for dealing with difficult employees.
If you do nothing else…
- In addition to the written contract of employment, there are a number of implied terms of employment, such as a duty of care, a duty of trust and confidence and an expectation of loyalty and commitment. These terms could all be the subject of concerns about members of staff which you may need to address.
- To avoid having instances of misconduct with difficult people, you should ensure that expectations are clearly communicated to all staff through day-to-day management, appraisal, staff briefings/meetings and INSET.
- Making time to prepare for discussions you may need to have with difficult employees in relation to their conduct is crucial, so that you are clear about what issues need to be raised and what outcome you are expecting from the meeting.
- During discussions with difficult employees, managers need to be mindful of the words they choose, their body language and demeanour, as all could inflame an already heated situation.
You should not tolerate/ignore repeated instances of unacceptable behaviour from any employee. Instead, you should use either the right word at the right time, appraisal or the application of an informal or formal procedure.