Dealing With Employee Insubordination
Are you a timid business owner or Human Resource person? Do you have trouble
dealing with employee insubordination? We believe the best way to handle this
problem is to react immediately. Waiting can make matters worse. When other
employees see a coworker getting away with insubordinate behavior, it encourages
them to act the same way.
But you must confront the insubordinate worker using the policies or procedures
in place. A systematic, unbiased approach is necessary. If you just blindly
react to the employee in question, it can create chaos in the workplace. Not
only is this uncomfortable, but you lose the opportunity to bring the employee
back into the fold. Also you risk your reputation with the other workers and
possibly with your management. This will affect your ability to manage all
employees in the long-term.
That said, effectively dealing with this problem in a professional manner is
stressful for most managers. Let me explain.
Employee insubordination clearly tells you that your worker does not respect
you. This disrespect can occur in many different forms. For example, an employee
may talk back to you during inappropriate times. Also, he or she may not listen
to your directions or regularly "forget" what you told them to do. Even worse,
this worker may ignore your previous attempts at discipline.
Employee Insubordination Tools
So you must deal with the problem employee immediately and professionally. How
do you go about doing this?
First review your current policies and procedures. If you are a small business
owner and do not have such policies, now is the time to create them. Not only is
it important to have a set of workplace rules, but every employee should be
familiar with them. These rules can take the form of a handbook or just a simple
posting or bulletin.
Part of these rules should be to meet with the problem employee. Why is this
important? Sometimes employees have troubles related to their life outside their
work environment. Everyone has a story. If you take the time to sit the employee
down, and draw them into a conversation that is not accusatory or confrontational,
then they may explain what is going on with them outside work. If this is the case,
nine times out of ten the employee will return to good behavior.
However if this tactic fails, then you must make full use of your policies and
reprimand the employee. Your job, as business manager or owner, is to enforce
the workplace rules.
Start down the path towards termination. Often it is difficult to fire an
employee over a single incident of insubordination. You may have to meet
regularly with this individual, set goals and resolve problems on an ongoing
basis. Once the employee realizes you are checking the situation, their behavior
may improve. If not, you are already down the path of ending their employment.