How To Spot a Problem Employee

Problem employees? No, we don't have any. Well, you'll be surprised when we tell you how to spot a problem employee. No employer will know outright, unless with a lot of experience and knowledge, that he has a problem employee in his enterprise. When you look for the signs, you can recognize them easier. Otherwise, you only see the effects and not the cause of these problems.

Now the reason why an entrepreneur needs to identify a problem employee as early as possible is because of the effects of having such a person in the organization. Problem employees cause loss of time, effort and money and also affect morale and productivity. The sooner we spot a problem employee, the faster we can deal with the issue.

Now we come to the question of how to identify a problem employee? Here are some behavior patterns, which usually indicate a problem employee:

  1. Consistent under-performance or steadily deteriorating performance. This employee is not meeting the performance standards set for such employees.
  2. Superior performance but heads a group of employees, an opinion leader, and creates a negative and antagonistic atmosphere at work. This does not affect the performance of the specific employee, but does affect the productivity of the others and also cause frictions at work.
  3. Dysfunctional official interaction or relationship causing harm to working relations or productivity. As a result of the behavior of this employee at the workplace, there arises conflict between the employee and the superior, between the employee and other employees or even between other employees.
  4. Behavior at work is not professional and causes disturbance to others and the normal working of the company.
  5. Lack of regular attendance on the job or regular absence from work. Sometimes, regularly calling in sick on a particular day of the week or right after a weekend is also a sign of a problem employee.
  6. Regular absence from the work area or workstation. The employee is missing from his workplace without legitimate reason for such absence.
  7. Loss of involvement in work and marked reduction in enthusiasm at the workplace. There is reduced participation in the organization or team activities and also a low response to office queries.
  8. The lack of involvement also reflects as a loss of focus on activities or things of importance in the workplace. There is evidence of less happiness and more irritation while on the job.
  9. Safety hazards are caused by the action or inaction of an employee. More accidents occur than before due to the involvement or lack of involvement of the problem employee.

The supervisor's job is to separate the aberrations from a behavior pattern, document the behavior changes (regularity and severity), thereby identifying a problem employee and then taking the necessary remedial action or intervention early.

A problem employee can be helped through assistance and counseling and he can revert back to the normal productive employee that he once used to be. The supervisor's skill in identifying a problem employee or problem behavior pattern early is extremely critical to this effort.


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