Handling Difficult People
How to discipline and terminate difficult employees
 
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Employer's guide to handling difficult employees

 



Dynamics of Work Environment

 

As a small business owner, you wear many "different hats" from strategic planner to bookkeeper. However one area may owners aren't prepared for is managing people. Although employees allow you to get more work done, they create a whole new series of problems from hiring issues to worker's compensation. And there is no way to tell if the people you hire today are going to be a good fit for your company. At a certain point, you might find you need a crash course in handling difficult people.

Many conflicts can arise between small business owners and their workers. These problems can range from salary disagreements to performance problems. A conflict with one of your employees, for example, can cost you a valuable client because he or she is misrepresenting you and your company. On the other hand, one of your workers may have attendance issues or may refuse to perform certain necessary tasks.

Whatever the issue, difficult employees all have one thing in common. They will negatively impact your business. So as a business owner, you must accept the realities of handling difficult people. Here are a few tips that will help you deal with such individuals.

Handling difficult employees? Here's what you must do before they destroy your business.

 

 

 

 

 

Dynamics of Work Environment

The work environment is undergoing constant change, i.e. in factories, manufacturing units; production houses the work scenario and working condition is changing. Prolonged working hours, specialization of job profiles, technical complexities for jobs, increase in work pressure, etc are some of the major aspects of work environment that are undergoing changes. In the industrial set ups competition is growing by leaps and bounds. So the main concentration of employers is to increase production, maintain quality of the products yet make the long working hours more pleasant and safe in terms of accidents and fatigue for the employees. There are certain aspects of work environment which could exert positive effect on working capacity of the employee like better working atmosphere and certain which could exert negative influence on the employees like unhygienic working interiors.

Hours of work and its effect on production

The main problem in industries is the ratio of the total hours of work and the total production of the industry. It is a general belief that by increasing the work hour's production would increase. But it is not important that increasing working hours would increase overall production, because to calculate it, firstly it is important to calculate the real hours of work and nominal hours of work. Generally there is a difference between actual hours of work and the nominal hours worked; any employer or employee is aware of these things is aware of it.

To take out the ratio between them the factors such as -unproductive working time, rest pauses, slowness, early stoppages, absenteeism, and changes in work pace must all be considered. These are the factors that create the difference between actual hours of work and nominal hours of work. As far is overtime is concerned it was found to be lowering the production. A worker consciously or unconsciously accelerates himself when knows he must put in extra hours that day. However if workers are asked to work overtime without prior notice, then it could create dissatisfaction in them and if it is announced beforehand it might increase absenteeism.

Psychological surveys conducted in industrial organizations suggested that breaks during working time assists in increasing overall industrial production. The length and frequencies of the breaks, and the activities of employees, also needs consideration before coming to a specific conclusion. It is advised professionally to provide regular rest pauses to the employees, if it is not provided officially, the employee would anyhow take rest voluntarily during normal working hours.

If the management provides regular rest pauses to employees, it would decrease fatigue or monotony if exists, and also it increases the goodwill of the organization in the eyes of its employees. The type and nature of work determines the duration and number of rest pauses to be given. To get maximum benefits during rest pauses the employee should change his posture during the rest pause. For e.g. -If he sits while working, then should be encouraged to stand or walk around or vice-versa. The basic thing that should be followed during rest pauses is change of the activity and posture from that of the job. This would decrease the level of fatigue.

One of the major problems faced by organizations is that of excessive absenteeism that affects the level of production. There could be many reasons for it. An employee often has more than one reason for being absent.

Causes that could be the reason for excessive absenteeism are as follows:

1. Poor work habits
2. Personal adjustments
3. Job dissatisfaction
5. Outside or personal difficulties
6. Sickness or fatigue
7. Irresponsibility
It is interesting to note that absenteeism is highest at the beginning and end of the week and lowest on payday regardless of what day in the week it falls. Also the distance of workplace from house and household responsibilities determine the rate of absenteeism. Absenteeism is a very complex variable which is affected by a variety of factors, sometimes it occurs when employees do not get enough time to take care of their personal needs.

There are many external factors that affect the work, like- illumination, and ventilation, amount of noise and temperature of the work environment. It is observed that when the work environment is made pleasant and favorable, it affects the productivity of the employees. Factors such as use of various color schemes primarily on factory walls, benches and machines and in rest rooms influence the work atmosphere thus affecting the mindset of workers to an extent. Sometimes it becomes difficult to calculate the effect of environment change on the psychology of the employee and the total output of production. But certainly if some positive changes like better illumination, temperature control, noise reduction, etc are introduced at workplaces it definitely have positive influence over the mindset of workers.

Music in Industry

One of the most popular work environment changes is the introduction of music during the work hours. The reason of popularity of music is because it could be presented in a number of varieties and intensity. For example - instrumental, classical, jazz, pop, etc... The playing of music during work hours should be controlled by the organization itself in order to avoid the conflict among the employees over the choice of music to be played. It could be provided through piped-in-music or a standard system of industrial broadcasting by the firm itself.

The music could be provided either during lunch hours or at synchronized interval of time, for instance- for 15mins every two hours or as suitable. In repetitive factory work if music is introduced, it could result in increased production which is ultimately combination of quality and quantity, thus overall production is enhanced. However, specific investigation on introduction of music in organizations suggested that for complex industrial job and under stable conditions music does not increase production.

A factor that should be considered for determining the effect of music on production is - the rhythm. If the music is in rhythm with the employee's rhythm of work or when it tends to pace him, then it does influences production. Music should sound melodious to the ears while working, soft tunes or medium paced songs could be played. The music that exerts pressure on the ears while hearing it is not desirable like rock music or heavy guitar music. If such music is played during work it could exert pressure on the ears of workers, so instead of positive output it would add to the element of tiredness.

Noise

The voice that sounds unpleasant to ears is considered as noise. Noise is generally a sound which distracts one's attention, thus interfere the work efficiency of the workers. The noise is distracter or not, is determined by the factor - whether it is steady or intermittent. When it is steady, the workers generally adapts' themselves to it; but when it is irregular, takes greater effort to maintain work efficiency.

The effect of noise on a job is apparently determined by whether the noise is necessary element of the job or not. Sometimes noise is a part of the job, so its effect on the production level is determined by this factor also, for example - in textile yarn manufacturing units, the noise of the machinery is the part and parcel of the job profile, thus for the workers it does not affect their level of production. An employee who has adjusted himself to a noisy work situation may be distracted by a sudden silence. However noise levels above 100 decibels (db) should be considered to be harmful for the ears and if exposed to sound more than this could affect the hearing capacity of the person, so employees should be protected from such noise by ear plugs or ear muffs.

Noise of extreme intensity can be irritating and also could lead to ear pain, partial deafness or permanent ear damage. Although silence is golden but working in total silence is also not desirable.
Illumination

Daylight is the best source of illumination for work. Artificial lighting which is in close proximity to daylight in color and composition is next best source of light during work. The distribution and location of light, the intensity of its glare are some factors that has to be considered before installing the lighting system into the workplace. Also the illumination should be such that there is proper combination of artificial light with daylight. As far as possible the artificial light should be free from colors, but in case colorful lights could not be avoided than, the best color for artificial light is the Mazda or yellow light as this color resembles the day light. Light that is unbalanced and of unmatched color is a hindrance for the work and not a help.

The most important difference between daylight and artificial light is their property of diffusion. Lights that are adequately diffused tend to produce fewer glares. Excessive brightness produces visual discomfort and fatigue. In indirect lighting, the light is directed to the ceiling from there it is reflected to the other parts of the work area. This usually results in a high brightness for the ceiling and low intensity in the work area. Translucent bowls are the source of artificial light that reflect part of the light to the ceiling and transmit part of the light downward hence serves as both direct and indirect lighting.

Some jobs require the people while working at a desk to look up continuously or away from the work area; this requires continual papillary adjustment, which results in fatiguing effects. Yellow color light is found to give the best results and next better option is orange-yellow light, but of all colors white is the best option. Proper contrast between the lights of the work area with relation to the wall color, in certain circumstances reduces eyestrain. The fact that negative afterimages occur when the eye is overestimated by one color has been accepted. If a person looks continuously for two minutes at a red circle, and then looks immediately at a neutral background, he will see a green circle at background. Here the image is negative afterimage.

Miscellaneous Factors

Cafeterias now have become an element of necessity in workplaces. Generally factories now-a-days have some restaurants near-by or any eating joint or else have its own canteen. This factor is helpful to retain and attract employees. Snack bars serving sandwiches, other fast foods, tea/coffee/soft drink dispensers have become common in most of the factories. However it is also seen that these cafeterias often become target of employee's criticism.

Complaints regarding food/service of the canteen are common thing. Thus it does serves as the source of dissatisfaction sometimes for the workers. But then also it is important because it necessary as an environmental change. It is observed that a rest pause spent in a canteen is apparently more favored than the regular rest pause. Employees like to socialize with each other over a sip of coffee or a bite of sandwich during the rest pause.

One of the important factors in workplaces is the rest rooms. The amount of space provided in rest room, cleanliness of rest rooms, also hygienic sanitary facilities contribute a lot to the attitude of the employees towards the organization. If these factors are not proper in work place then it could have negative influence on the job performance of the worker.

There are many other environmental aspects like temperature of the work area, humidity level, ventilation, etc that are linked to the ultimate attitude of the employee and that influences the overall productivity. Present work scenario demands the employee to spend on an average 8 to 9 hours at the workplace, thus it has become essential to provide them basic facilities and create favorable working condition in order to achieve greater productivity and job satisfaction. Introducing such extra facilities might cost some extra money for the employer but in turn would provide him better working from the workers thus ultimately profiting the employer.



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Handling difficult employees? Here's what you must do before they destroy your business.


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