5 Step Guide to Deal With Difficult Employees in 2020


Hiring is not an easy job and hiring the best and correct employee is not a piece of cake. Sometimes all the efforts your company takes, there could be a chance that certain employees would create a hostile environment, making the workplace tensed.

Now confronting them with an open dialogue would be quite stressful. Still, you have to take some proactive steps for stopping their bad behaviors. This would harm your company’s morale and productivity.

Guidelines for Handling Difficult Employees

Some of the major guidelines you can follow are –

Set Up Clear Expectations

When you are dealing with situations that involve a hostile employee, try to remain neutral. You might assume that the problem employee would understand the situation and try to rectify the negative behaviors of theirs. But that won’t happen. Most importantly, you must not criticize their toxic behavior and demand them to be more civil.

Rather in this situation, you can treat the situation objectively. Begin a conversation with the employee and tell him how valuable he is and even bring out his contributions.

Monitoring the Behavior

Now it is necessary to take difficult situations seriously. You must monitor the problematic employee and find out what is acceptable and not in this behavior. Keep a track and note down the various behaviors that the employee displays so that it can be a written record in case of any legal hassles.

You can also use a productivity management software like Work Examiner to track the work progress and behavior of such problematic employees. With such a tool you can find out the amount of time the employee takes for each task, get detailed reports of the employee’s productivity, etc.

Working Together for A Solution

Try to find out what the employee has to say. Analyze the situation and have an open discussion and dialogue. Get to the root of the issue and have a good understanding of the issue. Keep in mind that the employee would be having a personal problem at home, dissatisfaction at the job role, burnout due to excessive work, etc.

In such a case, make the employee understand that you have their back in assisting them in overcoming the challenges.

Warn and Do A Follow-Up

Now a good manager should not be held hostage if the employee is terminated. As soon as you have communicated the expectations, you need to document it and try to find a solution for that. A clear timeframe must be set up and that would be the probation period. As a manager, you must set clear consequences regarding what would happen if the difficult employee fails.

Go for A Firm Decision

At times the toxic employee would be unsuccessful in changing their behavior. Rather than getting frustrated, try to take charge of the situation and be pragmatic. If the situation has no solution, terminate the employee.


No doubt, difficult employees might not be the perfect ones. Still, you can train and make them productive.