There aren’t many tasks throughout your day that are as potentially frustrating as dealing with problem employees. These people are the ones who are always late to work, constantly ignore feedback and refuse to contribute to a productive work environment.

In many cases, this type of behavior leads to a termination, but that may not be the best way to manage your unemployment costs. Instead of solving every issue in this way, consider taking some proactive steps to cope before things escalate. For example, offer additional training if the problem lies with performance. If issues revolve around misconduct, do whatever you can to provide the employee with a path for improvement. As a result, you may be able to turn that challenging staff member around.

To get started, here are four tips to get the most out of every employee:

1. Don’t be afraid of conflict
As long as it is dealt with in the proper fashion, conflict can be a good thing for a problem employee. According to the Harvard Business Review, avoiding this can lead to more issues down the road, and create unneeded complexity and anxiety. Instead, always be willing to provide feedback, try new tactics and reflect on past strategies. This will allow you to better understand what needs to be done to keep your company on track.

2. Keep your composure when confronting an employee
The HBR stressed the importance of composure when dealing with particularly challenging staff members. Your office may not be especially private, but if possible, make sure you don’t lose your cool in front of everyone. This goes for when you are alone or when talking to an employee. Find a way to take a break, get outside or vent in another form – above all else, stay calm and supportive.

3. Identify how the employee is underperforming
Background checks may not have painted the whole picture. Sometimes, that hire turns into a serious problem. However, there is a difference between certain types of behavior, and that distinction could impact your unemployment insurance costs. According to Monster, attempt to first figure out if they are underperforming or engaging in misconduct. These are viewed differently in the eyes of the law, and the answer could dictate your future course of action.

4. Document all corrective action
Every once in awhile, the corrective action you hoped would work didn’t pan out. Therefore, you may have to ramp up the steps you take to address these problems. If this occurs, make sure you document all parts of the process. A terminated employee may file for unemployment insurance, and you could need all of the data available to support your side. Written warnings and a comprehensive record are invaluable from a legal perspective, so make sure your defense is strong in the event of a hearing.


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