Does your workplace have a negative employee?
Here's what you should do
By: The De Lacy Executive Recruitment Team
Whether you work for an agricultural retailer, a genetics company, on the farm, or anything in-between, every business at one point or another has an individual who can make the workplace less enjoyable for other employees.
Perhaps it's their habits, attitude, or work ethic, but nonetheless, it's crucial to address the issue before it has a negative impact on your employees and the business.
Do you have a negative employee in your workplace? Here are some ways that you can address the problem:
Observe and Evaluate
If an employee has come forward with a complaint about a co-worker, it's important to remain neutral and observe the situation for yourself. Throughout the day, spend some unannounced time with those involved and try to collect some first-hand knowledge about the situation.
It's likely that with your presence, the negative employee won't act like they usually do, but this will give you the opportunity to see how the employees work together.
Try to evaluate the situation and develop a plan before acting. You don't want to make either of your employees feel like they have been unheard or attacked.
If an employee has reached out about the behavior of a fellow co-worker, it's likely that other employees have observed or have thoughts about the situation. As mentioned above, it's important to remain neutral - don't choose sides or dismiss the issue!
Be as confidential as possible but speak with others in the workplace to gain a third-party perspective. If multiple people are saying the same thing about the same person, then it's time to discuss this issue with the negative employee.
It's not a fun situation to be in as a decision maker but ignoring the issue could affect your company culture.
There could be many reasons as to why an employee is negative. They could be dealing with something in their personal life, maybe there's something in their daily tasks that's contributing to the behaviour, or maybe they simply don't enjoy working for the company. In any instance, you need to sit down privately and discuss the issue with them.
If there aren't other factors contributing to the negative behaviour, let the employee know that the issue has been brought to your attention and that it must not continue. Do not provide the name of the person who brought up the issue (sometimes they will figure it out, but the person who brought it to your attention is expecting some confidentiality).
Also make sure to touch base with the employee(s) who complained to let them know that the issue has been addressed.
After speaking with everyone involved in the situation, develop a timeline to circle back to the issue and see if the situation is showing signs of improvement and potentially resolution. You must give the negative employee ample time to change their behaviour.
In your timeline, choose a date to meet with both employees. Meet with the employees separately to see if progress has been made regarding the negative behaviour. If the employee has corrected the issue, then you've resolved the issue successfully.
If the situation has not improved, depending on your policies and procedures, it may be time for more formal actions like a written warning, or to take more drastic actions to protect your employees as well as your business.