“Difficult employees” - who are they?


Employee monitoring can always detect those employees who create obvious problems for the company. But there are employees whose negative impact cannot be detected straight away, and its consequences are not so easy to remove.

Jeff Hayden, author of over 30 books on investment and entrepreneurship, explains that the real danger for business are often employees, who at first glance do well with their responsibilities, but in fact quietly destroy the company from the inside: reduce productivity, disrupt relationships and lower motivation. Automated monitoring system can detect such difficult employees in time to prevent problems they could cause. What is so special about these people? How do they differ from their peers? The answer is that they ...

... Continue the meeting after it is over.

Meetings are for discussing issues, removing concerns, making specific decisions which are supported by the participants. And then the company starts implementing these decisions. Sometime later it turns out that said decision is not supported by a difficult employee, so a dispute arises. Such a person can say that the idea was bad in the first place, but he or she has to do the job because the boss says so. And then the employee might say that he or she does not support the company's decision at all and may even be working to oppose it. Of course, it is better to detect sabotage during employees’ activity monitoring before the situation might destabilize the whole team.

... Say that "it's not their job".

In a small company it is extremely important for employees to independently prioritize, make decisions, quickly adapt, and do everything for the company’s development, regardless of their authority, position, and formal circle of responsibilities. In small companies is not uncommon for an accountant to help make an order, for manager to help out in the warehouse and for CEO to work with customers. Here tasks and responsibilities combine, but development of the company is still the goal.

When an employee says: "It's not my job to do" he or she does not care for anybody’s opinion, and it can seriously undermine the performance of the whole team. This means every man for himself. Employee monitoring system will show who chose this destructive strategy.

... Work as if doing a favor to others.

Your employees have completed an important and demanding project and have shown excellent results, but it was yesterday, last month or last year. You thank them for high performance, but tasks that are due to be done today are still not ready. Your employee control system shows that the staff often get distracted and engaged in private affairs, while the work is not moving forward. It is essential to evaluate employees’ productivity daily and what important is the contribution one makes to the common goal every day. Difficult employees believe that they have fulfilled their duty and are not obliged to work any harder.


... Are confident that experience is an extremely (and only) valuable characteristic.

Yes, of course, experience is important. But it is deemed useless if not used to improve productivity and skills or to obtain meaningful results. This way experience gets devalued. For example a department head can say to the young subordinates that his or her experience is an incredible resource, and then go into the personal office and wait there for someone to come for wise advice. This happens not so often, because everyone is busy completing their tasks and it is expected that an experienced employee will do the same – do his or her job. Somebody’s experience and position cannot be the decisive arguments. The main thing is justice, wisdom and logic, and they are supposed to prevail.

... Do not neglect the gossip.

Gossip itself is disgusting, but it acquires a particular extent when it occurs in corporate environment. You should not discuss somebody who is not present for the conversation. When you need to find out what a particular employee is occupied with it is best to come to him or her personally and not to try find it out through a colleague or a superior. This time could be spent much more productively, moreover, everything, that can somehow demean employees, must be stopped. Employee monitoring system will show which members of your staff spend the lion's share of their working time discussing colleagues near water cooler.

... Nullify the efforts of other employees.

For example, a new employee works hard, constantly stays late at the office, beats the target. All of this, of course, gets registered in the employee monitoring system. But as a result the "newcomer" hears from the "experienced" colleagues that his or her efforts make them look bad. In reality the best employees have no need to compare themselves with others, they take into account only personal achievements. At the same time the difficult employees do not want others to stand out and wish that everybody else would work worse than them. Their goal is to constantly prove that they never lose. But, in the end, everybody loses by stopping skills improvement.

... Are eager to be first in everything.

In fact, a difficult employee can be very productive, capable of dealing with any difficulties and overcoming all obstacles. A team without him or her would never have shown outstanding results. But, despite this, any great results cannot be achieved alone without a team. Any leader must be aware of this and therefore share the glory with the team, because the success of subordinates always indicates good leader qualities and manager skills. If any department stands out in employee monitoring analytics it is likely that the head of it does not "grab the biggest piece of pie" but shares the success will all participants.

... Do not share responsibility and shift it onto others.

Any problem that arises in a company can be blamed on anyone - customers, suppliers, colleagues - but not the difficult employee. Truly valuable and responsible employees, regardless of what has happened and who is to blame, can take the brunt. They are not afraid of criticism and being held responsible for the failure because they know that they can cope with this. In the best teams everybody works together to achieve the goal without looking for the scapegoat. The main thing is the overall result, the common goal and the general division of responsibility for the error.

difficult employee