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…

Many lawsuits result from relatively small, manageable disputes that weren’t dealt with directly, often because HR simply didn’t know what to do or feared making it worse. Kathy Perkins, one of the presenters of our webinar, "How to Resolve Workplace Conflict," offers these proactive strategies for dealing with disruptive conflict.

The owner of our company has a fairly in-your-face, aggressive personality. I and lots of other staff can deal with him—that’s just his style. But several of our employees have complained recently that he’s acting worse and worse, and they’ve come to me accusing him of intimidating and bullying them. Who should I counsel? The boss, to tell him to lighten up? Or the employees, to tell them to get a thicker skin?—Designated Mediator

Some employees refuse to accept their employer’s solution to their discrimination complaints. They demand more action. Sometimes those employees begin working against their supervisors, perhaps assuming that any disciplinary action would constitute retaliation. Do you have to cave to their demands?

The U.S. Department of Labor has overturned years of past guidance with new rules on when employers must pay workers for the time they spend “donning and doffing” certain work clothes. Guess what: It's not good news for employers. Read the new DOL interpretation letter here.
Management just let everyone know that we're going to continue a salary freeze for at least another six months. For some people, that means they won't have seen a raise in more than two years. How can we keep our employees motivated when it doesn't seem like there's any light at the end of the tunnel?—B.D., New York

Many lawsuits result from relatively small, manageable disputes that weren’t dealt with directly, often because HR simply didn’t know what to do or feared making it worse. Here are my favorite strategies for dealing with disruptive conflict, based on the book Resolving Conflicts at Work by Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith.

When sued, employers must preserve all evidence in their possession that may concern the lawsuit and its underlying claims. That means that as soon as you receive an EEOC complaint, you should issue a litigation hold directing the retention of all electronic communications, such as e-mails. Don’t let employees make their own decisions about which e-mails they should keep.

Vouchers for compact fluorescent light bulbs and rooftop solar panels have taken their place next to health insurance and flextime as popular employee benefits. Young job-seekers want to work for socially responsible, environmentally friendly companies. That’s one reason more companies have begun offering “green” employee benefits.

As we enter the back-to-school season, office supplies have begun to disappear. Does anyone have any policy or procedure in place to thwart this type of behavior? In your experience, will a firm but diplomatic e-mail help? It's getting expensive and embarrassing as large quantities walk away.—K in FL

The idea behind alternative dispute resolution is that cases will take less time and cost less money to litigate. But that may not always be true. Often, employees who have signed arbitration agreements and promised to use an alternative dispute-resolution process end up suing in federal court to try to get the agreement thrown out. Courts often oblige.