Professionally Handling Unprofessional Behaviour

Professionally Handling Unprofessional Behaviour

After going the extra mile to recruit the best candidates, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the atmosphere would remain pleasant at all times. Unfortunately, that’s simply not the way of the world, and you’ll almost certainly encounter bad behaviour in the workplace at some stage. In fact, there will probably be times where it feels like you’re a school teacher dealing with naughty children. 

If you’re not ready for those situations, they could cause major problems. However, if you’re prepared for dealing with unprofessional behaviour in the most efficient fashion, maintaining peace and productivity should be easy. 

What Constitutes Unprofessional Behaviour? 

Given that you run the business, it’s easy to take the opinion that employees should do exactly what you say. In the cold light of day, though, you’ll probably accept that this is a little unfair. 

Therefore, understanding what bad behaviour in the workplace actually looks like is the first step to stamping it out. Here are 10 issues to look for; 

  • Employees are unresponsive
  • Employees break promises
  • Employees play the blame game
  • Employees lie
  • Employees steal
  • Employees bully colleagues
  • Employees disrespect customers
  • Employees are overly lazy
  • Employees don’t collaborate
  • Employees bad mouth the company. 

Some of these issues will temporarily surface from time to time. After all, the employees are only human and one day of poor behaviour may be due to something in their personal lives that you’re not even aware of. Still, you cannot allow the problems to continue and escalate. 

Dealing With Unprofessional Behaviour In The Right Manner 

If you’ve spotted bad behaviour from an employee or employees, it’s imperative that you follow a winning plan of action to help overcome those problems ASAP. Here are five simple management tips that will help you stamp out bad behaviour in the workplace. 

#1. Make A Record 

Even if you’re the boss, it’s your word against theirs unless you have actual proof of their bad behaviour. Make a note of the unprofessional actions, recording the time and dates of those wrongdoings. 

Combine this information with identifying the appropriate sections of the company handbook to prove that their behaviour is wrong and against the business policies. But be careful not to let the employee cotton on. Otherwise, you could see a temporary shift in behaviour before you’ve had a chance to speak. 

#2. Inform Them 

After collecting your evidence, it’s important to let the individual(s) know that you wish to discuss the matters further. Given that you need to handle this in a professional way make sure that you do this with subtlety. Nobody other than the employees directly impacted by the bad behaviour should be aware of what’s going on. 

#3. Hold The Meeting 

Use the meeting to tell them what you’ve observed and why it’s wrong, pinpointing the problems with help from the handbook. Allow them to make a defence, but be sure to make them read through the necessary material. 

You need to be firm but fair throughout the meeting. If the employee is willing to learn from those mistakes, proposing a probation period in which you will monitor their behaviour is probably the most effective solution. If they refuse to make a change, it may be necessary to take more drastic measures. 

#4. Have A Probation Period 

The probation period should last at least a few weeks and up to three months. This is a chance for the employee to show that they have taken the meeting seriously and accepted that they need to improve their attitude around the workplace. 

Keep a record of their behaviour – good and bad – throughout this period as it will be very useful later on. Where possible, try to keep this private from other employees. 

#5. Review 

Upon completion of the probation period, you’ll need to sit down with the individual(s). This is your chance to let them know whether their behaviour has improved or not. Even if signs of progress have been made, you may still want to make further suggestions. 

Furthermore, you’ll need to make it known that the positive changes need to remain. Falling back to their old ways following probation isn’t acceptable. 

Sacking - The Last Resort 

Generally speaking, businesses perform better when there is a low turnover of employees. Moreover, sacking an employee unfairly or prematurely could lead to negativity throughout the workplace as well as potential legal battles through unfair dismissal claims. If possible, then, it’s usually best to give employees a chance to improve. 

Still, you shouldn’t rule out the prospect of sackings altogether. 

You are well within your right to sack an employee that has committed a major offence. This could range from stealing intellectual property to continued bullying of another colleague. When taking this route, it’s vital that you display professional behaviour at all times. Ultimately this should manifest in following the standardised statutory dismissal procedure. 

The statutory dismissal procedure is a three-point process, which involves; 

  • Declaring your intention to potentially end their employment in writing
  • Providing reasons and inviting them to discuss it at a meeting
  • Allowing them to use their right to appeal. 

If you do all of those things and believe that sacking is still the best solution for the good of the business as well as the team, bring the axe down with confidence. 

The Final Word 

Maintaining a happy and productive workforce is one of the toughest challenges facing any modern business owner or manager, which is why dealing with bad behaviour should be a priority at all times. 

Now that you know how to identify and handle those situations, whether it be rectifying them or terminating an employee’s contract, a smoother operation is assured. 

If you are looking for some help with supplying your employees with high quality office furniture, give our friendly team a call on 0800 092 1985 or take a look around the rest of the website.

Posted by Paul Randall
8th October 2018