Amanda Haddaway works with small business owners and managers on creating compliant HR functions, solving day-to-day employee problems and providing interactive training solutions. Her work includes HR audits to assess whether or not a company is in compliance with state and federal laws, employee handbook creation and revisions, training on a variety of HR-related topics, as well as general HR consulting.


amanda haddaway2 Tips For The Small Business Owner: How To Handle Problem Employees

Amanda Haddaway
(Photo courtesy of Amanda Haddaway)


Do I really need an employee handbook?

In a word, yes. Even small employers need to provide their employees with the workplace rules. By having an employee handbook, your organization’s policies and procedures aren’t a mystery. It’s also a great tool to use when onboarding new employees. When you make a new hire, you want them to be successful. Provide them with the information they need to know about what is and isn’t expected of them. In the unfortunate event that you have to terminate an employee, the handbook also serves as a great reference tool for that process.

You should include an acknowledgement form that is signed by the employee and you, stating that the handbook was received, read and understood. This provides some proof in the event that things get ugly. One caveat is your handbook needs to be maintained and updated. State and federal laws change regularly, so I recommend reviewing and updating your handbook every six months. After changes are made, get an updated signed acknowledgement.

How do I deal with a problem employee?

This may seem basic, but the first step is to have a conversation with the employee. I’ve talked to a lot of managers who try the ‘head in the sand’ approach to no avail. That is, they think ignoring an employee performance problem will make it go away. More often than not, this approach fails. Instead, it’s important to be proactive in speaking with the employee about the performance issue. During the conversation, try to determine the cause of the poor performance and work with the employee to develop an action plan. After steps are laid out, follow up with the employee at regular intervals to ensure progress is being made. It’s important to document these conversations so you have a record should the need arise for further action.

How do I hire talent into my organization when I have a limited budget?

Using a recruitment agency and posting online to some of the larger job sites can be costly, but there are also lots of free resources you may have overlooked. Most social media tools offer free basic accounts for employers. You can advertise your listings on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also use your own website and email lists to cast a wider candidate net. Employee referral programs are another popular way for organizations to recruit talent. Depending on your industry, your professional association affiliations and business networking groups may also provide free or inexpensive job postings.

Recruiting is a numbers game, so the more people who see your job posting, the more likely you are to fill it. Encourage people in your professional network to share the opening to maximize its exposure.


This article was written by Robin D. Everson for Small Business Pulse


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