Selecting the right person for the job can be tough, enough; especially when you are new to the hiring game. But what happens if you think you have the right candidate, and at some point down the line you realise you have made a big mistake?


Difficult employees are everywhere, and there will be some that make you wish you were still a one-person enterprise working alone from your bedroom. With this in mind, I thought I would reveal some advice on how to deal with difficult employees, and either help them fit into the business a little better or, ultimately, see the back of them. Let’s get started with the basics.


What makes a difficult employee?


There are a thousand and one different reasons why you might feel an employee is difficult. It could be that they just don’t fit in with everyone else. They might not pull their weight and be a total drain on your resources. Or, they could just be an argumentative, angry, unconscionable chancer. Either way, you have your work cut out to fix things – and here are some suggestions.



Keep your ears open


Just because an employee appears to be difficult, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are. Perhaps hey have a problem at home, or something is going on in their life that is affecting their performance and attitude. The trouble is when people start playing up, we all have a tendency to switch off. As a business owner, this is a mistake. Hiring people costs money, and you should – for your finance department, at least – give the individual another chance. So, listen well to what they have to say – perhaps you can come up with an effective plan of action and help them turn things around.




At this point, it’s vital to start recording everything. It can be tricky to fire someone these days, particularly if they have been working for you for some time. Workers rights will play a big factor in what you can and can’t do, so it is essential to start gathering evidence to support your ultimate decision now rather than later.   


Start giving feedback


If you give your staff regular feedback directly, most will respond in the manner you are hoping for. It won’t work for everyone, of course – some leopards will never change their spots. The point is you can’t spend your life complaining about someone if you don’t make them aware of the issues.


Positive consequences


If things don’t change, you will need to start laying out some consequences. But keep them positive – let the individual know you still believe you can both turn things around. Let’s assume that the employee is always off sick. This post explains the process in detail of what you need to do, but in essence, it’s all about creating a space for a fair dismissal.


Be brave


Firing someone is difficult – make no mistake about it. It’s hard for the individual, and it’s difficult for you, no matter how much the person has been messing around. But you can’t use this as an excuse to put things off or get someone else to do your dirty work. It’s part and parcel of being a business owner – and you will need to step up to the plate.


Good luck – and I hope you never have to get to that final stage!