Problem employees create serious challenges for companies and managers.

There’s no way around it, difficult employees are a massive pain in the behind. Workers who are troublesome to deal with tend to not only present serious challenges for their managers but also disrupt projects, teams, departments and sometimes entire companies.

Here is some useful advice to help you effectively deal with any problem staff you have the misfortune of having to oversee or work with.

1. Don’t ignore the problem

Unfortunately, difficult employees aren’t going to change on their own. If you ignore any problems they’re not going to go away anytime soon. Bad employees can negatively affect morale and productivity so as the manager you need to take the bull by the horns and address any problems head on.

2. Listen to them

While it can be tempting to ignore them or deal with the problem indirectly, simply listening to the employee in question can often help solve problems. By listening to them you can gain an understanding of why they are behaving in the way they are and potentially deal with it directly. Sometimes just the act of listening will be enough.

3. Keep it professional and depersonalized

Make sure all your encounters with the problem maker are professional, follow company protocol and act as impersonal and dispassionate as possible. Don’t get emotionally caught up and try your best to treat them as objectively as possible. Instead of large negative statements, give succinct concrete examples of their behavior that is causing problems.

4. Give feedback about their behavior

While it’s not comfortable to do, the best way to address problem behavior is to give the employee direct feedback about it. Tell difficult employees exactly what the problem is with their behavior and how you expect them to behave differently. Otherwise, how can you expect them to change?

5. Set clear consequences if problems persist

In order to get results, you need to manage with a very clear stick. While showing that you think that a problem team member’s behavior can change, you should also tell them what will happen if they don’t. Be very clear and precise about what the ramifications will be and also set a deadline for change.

6. Get some support

Trying to manage problem employees can be very time consuming and stressful. To help you deal with the negatives make sure you have some support you can rely on. Talk to other colleagues, follow any protocols that exist with regards to management issues and consider getting someone outside of the office you can share what’s happening with.

7. Document their activities

It’s good practice keep records of all problematic incidents. At the end of the day, this evidence will help you in the case of any disciplinary actions or dismissal. In addition to noting individual incidents, employee monitoring software can be another very effective tool.

Solutions such as KnowIT monitor exactly what apps and websites each of your team use, as well as the amount of time they spend using them (and when). The software also records all communications on the devices.

Using the software you’ll soon be able to generate a very clear picture of what problem employees are actually doing (or not) with their time, as well as hard evidence of any problematic emails or messages they send.

It’s a very useful tool to support any claims against problem employees and to show them exactly what they’re doing wrong. To learn more about KnowIT click here.