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The workplace clown: funny or not?

The workplace clown: funny or not? (Last Updated On: July 19, 2016)

Having an employee who tries their hardest to liven up the workplace is not necessarily a bad thing. They may be helpful when it comes to reducing co-workers’ stress, and boosting employee morale. Sometimes, however, they can be extremely distracting, causing their colleagues to drift off track.

‘The workplace clown’, as this person can be referred to, becomes a problem when they continually upset the normal workplace flow, and staff are struggling to get their work done. It is times like this they can actually cause more tension than relief.

It is easy to become frustrated when dealing with an employee who does not seem to take their role seriously, however, communication will be your most effective tool and your best chance at curbing the behaviour before it becomes a problem. Chatting to your employee and explaining the impact their behaviour can have on others is the best approach, and you are well within your rights to request their actions are toned down to not distract others.

Sometimes, however, you may need to take further action. If the employee is not achieving key performance indicators, or meeting the requirements of their roles, then you also need to discuss this with them and perhaps place them on a performance improvement plan (PIP).

A PIP is where the employee is briefed on the aspects of their behaviour or performance that needs improvement, providing them with the opportunity to improve, learn and develop.

If you decide to place your employee on a PIP, you must ensure you follow a fair process. To assist, we have summarised some key elements below.

  • Communicate with your employee and establish all facts as there may be an underlying reason as to why they are acting a certain way and distracting others
  • Arrange a meeting with your employee to fully explain how they are not performing to your required standards, and why the meeting is taking place
  • Implement a detailed PIP, outlining what is required from the employee and how they are expected to improve
  • Meet with the employee regularly throughout the PIP to ensure they have the support needed and understand their requirements

Employsure helps employers develop holistic approaches to managing their staff. If you have any questions relating to your employees, contact Employsure on 1300 651 415. Our team of specialists can assist with any questions you may have regarding difficult employees or performance management.

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