What to do with a Bad Employee?

I had someone tell me recently that they did not know what to do with a bad employee.  My first thought was, “What do you mean you don’t know what to do?  Teach them, coach them, hold them accountable, write them up when necessary, give them an action plan, or get rid of them.   What’s so hard about that?”

I guess there’s a lot hard about that.  Many times these things are not done because the supervisor has a huge fear of confrontation.  So, instead of making progress in any of these areas, the employee continues to get worse, becoming a detriment for the department and the facility, and the supervisor puts on blinders so they cannot see the employee’s faults anymore.  It’s a perfect plan for career suicide. 

As a manager and leader, it’s my job to make sure I never fall into the trap of not addressing an employee just because it’s not going to be comfortable.  I don’t necessarily like having to hand out disciplinary action, but it’s not something that I’ll simply avoid doing either.  If it’s necessary, I have no problem carrying it out.  I look at it as giving the employee the facts of how they’re performing and giving them an opportunity to fix whatever problems there are before it leads to termination.  What’s fairer than that?

Managers who avoid confrontation with an employee and let the employee perform at a poor level also avoid their responsibility to their facility and company.  A facility doesn’t need a leader or supervisor who can’t do their job. 

As we talked about before, it’s not a popularity contest.  Just do your job.  If you can’t, your boss will find someone who can.

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6 Responses to “What to do with a Bad Employee?”

  • Martha Perez on

    BRAVO! Morale is easy to destroy but difficult to rebuild….
    Too many people needing jobs these days so why would you keep someone who is not taking care of the resident’s needs directly or indirectly? Lay down expectations CLEARLY, then hold them to it.
    Very well put, Mark. Thanks AGAIN!

  • Mark on

    Sounds like you had to deal with a couple of bad employees, Martha? 🙂

  • Martha Perez on

    … and then some. Over the years, you learn it is best to be up front and honest. Associates respect you more when you address bad behaviors and deal with them either through coaching, discipline or both.
    I truly enjoy your site. It’s nice to know that you openly discuss what we do out in the field every day!

  • Mark on

    Thanks, Martha. I appreciate your comments!

  • Lisa on

    We are about to give one of our employees a letter detailing the issues we have had with him and an action plan of what we want him to do in order for him to continue with the company and get back on track. The letter is very specific talking both generally and going into specific jobs so it can not be denied.

    Any advice to ensure that the employee does not become unmotivated & resentful? Over the last few months his work has declined and has been given 2 verbal warnings. This is the first written warning. reiterating the first 2 verbal warnings.

    He is a talented worker his attitude has just been terrible and we dont want to loose him just want him to improve.??

  • Mark on

    Hi, Lisa.

    I would tell him exactly what you just told me. I would tend to follow the One-Minute Manager style of giving him his warning:
    1. Be immediate
    2. Be specific
    3. Let him know how it makes you feel.
    4. Remind him he’s a better employee than what he is showing and you expect his best.

    I would also suggest to ask him what’s going on with him; however, this can usually end up opening the door for a ton of excuses. So, I think you’re right on target. Let him know how you feel. Let him know he’s a valuable member of your team. Let him know that if he doesn’t bring his attitude / work up to standard, he faces termination.


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