Of all the challenges employers face from time to time, we know how difficult it can be when issues arise regarding employee conduct or performance.

Such situations can have a considerable bearing on overall employee morale, as well as on productivity, and on the collective company culture you might be trying so hard to foster.

Here, based on MAD-HR’s extensive experience working with businesses of all sizes and scenario, are our tips for how to avoid, manage, and move on from, tricky employee issues.

Prevention is Always Best

It may sound obvious, but the best way to avoid challenging issues is to ensure you have the kind of culture and framework of responsibilities within your workplace, preventing difficulties from arising.

This is a multi-faceted approach.

Consider how you recruit and onboard employees, ensuring clear expectations about roles, behaviours and requirements.

Spend time developing handbooks and resources which point to behavioural and performance standards.

Be clear in your company-wide policies and procedures about appropriate conduct, such that there are always reference points if issues arise and someone needs to be challenged.

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Enable communication at all levels and on all issues

Where companies have a strong culture of open communication, it is likely that fewer grievances emerge unexpectedly, and, if embedded appropriately, it can mean that people feel able to come forward openly or anonymously if they are uncomfortable with the behaviours of others.

Move Swiftly Where Issues Arise

The more promptly you move to understand and address an employee issue, the better you are to prevent escalation and ensure that it doesn’t cause ripple effects across the entire business – and beyond.

Conduct meetings with the employee, seek to learn the side of multiple parties where appropriate, and take decisive action so everyone has clarity.

Take Notes

It’s imperative to document how you are addressing employee issues. This may become important if the matter escalates, so record each encounter or communication.

Involve the Appropriate Experts

This might be your in-house HR team, or an external consultant, but it’s wise to have someone involved in the process who can ensure you are acting appropriately, fairly and thoroughly.

Maintain Consideration for the Wider Workforce

As you navigate any issue, and during the process of concluding matters, make sure you are mindful of how this might affect other staff. Some may have worked alongside the individual for a long time, and others may feel unnerved by the change in mood on the ‘shop floor’. Remember, the team will watch closely how issues are handled, as it may indicate how they may be treated should they find themselves a similar scenario.

It’s essential to keep your culture and morale top of mind.

Review and Respond

While no employer likes to go through an employee issue, it can be helpful to remember that this is an opportunity to reflect and review. Use the incident as a chance to revisit policies and processes, check in with individuals about their perceptions of the workplace, and consider whether you would manage a similar scenario in an alternative way.

For more information about embedding the right culture and framework of responsibilities, please call us on 01473 360160 or contact us via our contact page.