People Management

With some employees, it isn’t a matter of ability, it’s a matter of attitude. And while you can’t control someone’s horrible personality, you can decide how you’re going to respond. Use these scripts and strategies to confront problem employees and effectively manage employee discipline so you can bring motivating back to the forefront of your workday.

The first rule of people management is not to let one bad apple spoil your whole bunch. Difficult people can put a strain on the productive members of your team.

Make the most of your human capital. Browse our articles on the good, the bad and the ugly of People Management…

Today’s economic climate has caused employers to cut budgets and workforces—and expect workers to do more with less. As they see colleagues laid off and their employers cutting back, employees are more concerned than ever about their own job security. It makes sense for employers to address stress issues in their workforces, since increased stress affects not only employees, but employers’ bottom lines.

Our front-desk receptionist is a gem. She very capably handles all her duties and presents a very favorable “public face” for the company … except for one thing. She is prone to religious proselytizing, not just with people who work here, but occasionally with visitors, too. Sometimes, it’s just, “Have a blessed day.” But other times, she’ll roll out a whole Bible verse to suit whatever mood she is in. I have received a few complaints about this, but everyone is quite shy about making it a big deal since she is otherwise so great. How can I tell her to tone it down without offending her? Can we get in legal trouble by asking her to stop preaching?—Krista, S.C.
Some of our employees are stealing from us! Not by taking money or supplies, but by stealing time. Some pretend to work through lunch so they can leave work early. Others conduct personal business on the phone or over the Internet. Others just spend way too much time socializing. What can we do to crack down?—Louise, PA

The days of organizations handing out bonuses like Halloween candy seem to be over. While employers have returned to awarding bonuses in 2010, they’re attaching more strings than ever and are more likely to look at “hard” financial performance metrics when making variable pay decisions.

When managers create an environment that helps empower their employees, some employees will jump on the bandwagon and act empowered right away. But many of them just don’t have the confidence to risk failing or take actions without consulting a supervisor every step of the way. Here is a seven-step model for encouraging and motivating employees.

Steven Whitlow, an employee at a Cognis plant in Kankakee, signed a last-chance agreement that forfeited his right to file charges against Cognis with any civil rights commission or government authority. Later, Whitlow rescinded his agreement, stating that he did not want to waive his civil rights. When Cognis terminated him, he filed a complaint with the EEOC.

Employees feel overworked and underpromoted, and two in five of them are looking for new jobs. A new study is the latest to reveal that employees who plan to leave their companies say they feel a lack of communication from management. Here are four things your employees might think they’ll find more of elsewhere:

With some employees, the problem isn't a matter of ability, it's a matter of attitude. This can manifest itself in everything from quiet disobedience to outright insubordination. How should you respond? Rather than becoming entangled in a debate about the employee's dysfunctional attitude, address the situation strictly as a behavioral problem.

Managers and HR pros can’t empower employees, but they can create an environment that motivates them to want to act in an empowered way. Here is a 10-step model for encouraging and motivating employees. It will help them build the confidence they need to empower themselves to make decisions and take risks:

Feel exhausted, even on a vacation day? That’s one sign you’re being bullied at work, according to a “you know you’ve been bullied at work when ...” checklist by Workplace Bullying Institute. Other signs that you’re in the bully’s bull’s-eye: