Situation: A CEO and her staff are struggling with a difficult employee. This individual fails to send invoices on a timely basis, doesn’t provide required reports to management, and doesn’t return vendor calls. The CEO has spoken to the employee, who acknowledges the issues but then rapidly defaults to old habits. How do you manage a difficult employee?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Ask for specific weekly/biweekly AP/AR reports, and be very clear as to everything that this should cover as well as the required deadlines. Make it clear that these deadlines are mandatory and that there will be disciplinary consequences for failure either to meet the deadlines or to create the report as specified. Address issues with timely mailing of invoices and timely return of vendor calls the same way. Make all three standard operating procedure.
- This is not an at-will employee so assure that there is very good and complete documentation over a period of time to demonstrate that the employee is not meeting required job responsibilities.
- Tell the employee that he has 90 days to demonstrate that he can consistently meet required responsibilities, and that there will be a retain or termination decision at the end of this period.
- Update policies that are not being following so that they are clear.
- Check with a human resources expert for advice on what needs to be done. Regulations are shifting, so this will assure that the company is following regulatory requirements.
- If the final decision is to retain this employee, adjust responsibilities to mitigate potential future damage.
- Given the current challenges, why is this employee’s behavior being tolerated? What message is this sending to other employees?