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Employees with bad behaviour?

Employees with bad behaviour? (Last Updated On: September 22, 2016)

No business wants to tolerate an employee who is rude or disrespectful – especially when the way employees act has considerable implications for your business reputation. But before you act, make sure you understand any possible underlying causes and deal with it in the right way.

Sometimes, an employee acting in a rude manner can be a result of other factors, meaning you need to identify what the underlying cause is before you take action. Poor behaviour can be a sign that there is something going on with the employee that may lie deeper than simply a short fuse.

The only way to resolve bad behaviour is to open up communication channels with them, and identify whether it is a problem in their personal life or at work that is affecting their behaviour.

Steps to take.

The first thing to do if an employee is acting inappropriately is to arrange a meeting. This should be informal and not in the tone of a disciplinary meeting, as that may not be the purpose of your conversation. If their work performance is not in question, there may not be a need to start a performance plan.

Here is what you need to do:

  • ask to speak to the employee in a private setting where you can speak openly and without interruption
  • tell them that you have noticed their behaviour and ask if everything is okay
  • ask questions to try and determine the welfare of the employee, and be prepared to be sympathetic if they share personal information

Whilst it is important to have an open mind, perhaps the employee’s behaviour is not due to external or personal issues. If that is the case, you can treat the bad behaviour as a conduct matter and remind the employee that they are expected to act professionally whilst at work, and show respect to their colleagues and customers.

At this stage, an informal word to them should be enough to let them know that their behaviour has been noted and should not continue. If the bad behaviour continues despite having spoken to the employee, you can attempt to improve their behaviour by:

  • issuing a warning where appropriate
  • initiating a disciplinary procedure against them

At each stage consider the circumstances of each occasion of misconduct. Keep in mind that you as an employers need to ensure procedural fairness is applied when disciplining or dismissing an employee.

If you need any further advice on dealing with bad behaviour in the workplace, contact Employsure, Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist on 1300 651 415.


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