Deal with Those Problem Employees (CAD Manager's Toolbox)

9 Feb, 2009 By: Robert Green

Don't let troublesome individuals keep your well-oiled CAD department from running smoothly.

I received a question from a reader who wants to know the best way to deal with employees who simply won't follow the rules. You know the type: no matter what you do, they won't follow standards, rules, etc. Although there's no perfect answer to this question, there is a general process I've used to deal with the problem, and I'll share it with you.

I'll state up front that dealing with problem employees can sometimes lead to disciplinary measures, and that it won't always be fun. But then again, you're not having any fun with the situation as it is now, right?

Discuss, Isolate, Fix
I deal with truly problem cases by using a three-step process that is designed to shine a light on the bad behavior so that your senior management will get involved. And we all know the ultimate resolution for the problem employee is going to be upper management.

Step 1: Discuss. Discuss the problem with the offending employee and tell him or her that you feel you must go to senior management with the problem since nothing else has worked. After this discussion, go to the senior managerial authority in charge of the problem person and relay your concerns.

Hint: Form the discussions around easy-to-measure factors like rework, missed deadlines, etc. Do not make the discussion personal, but focus on the good of the company and you'll get the conversation started on the right tone.

Step 2: Isolate. After the conversations have taken place, isolate the problem behavior by putting it all in writing so that the parties involved can never claim they didn't know about the problem. Include any objectives the employee must meet (must follow standards, etc.) and present your written documentation to senior management for their approval. Once you've got things written down and approved, present everything to the problem employee.

Hint: If you have a human resources department, it should be able to assist you in these tasks. If you need help, it really is OK to ask.

Step 3: Fix. Now the problem employee will make a decision either to fix the behavior or not. If he or she improves the behavior, that is excellent and the problem is solved. If not, then it is probably time to have your senior management or human resources department confront the employee and put him or her on final notice.

If you follow these three steps, you may very well solve the problems you've experienced with the particular user. And even if you don't get the ultimate solution, you've now got management's attention so that everyone knows there is a problem.

I know dealing with these scenarios isn't fun, but it is part of management.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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