Employee Conduct: What You Need to Know

blog-publish-date

12 Jul 2018

blog-read-duration

Managing employee conduct is part of the smooth running of your business. Here are a few steps that you can take when staff behaviour gets out of hand.

Managing an Employee with Bad Attitude

As an employer, you have a duty of care to all staff. Employees with poor attitude can be aggravating to colleagues, and in some cases, their behaviour can even border on bullying. If one employee is bullying another, it's your responsibility to take action. If you think that one of your employees has breached the standards of behaviour that you set out in your policy for employee conduct, or another employee lodges a grievance against the first employee, you'll need to investigate these allegations. On the other hand, what do you do when employee behaviour is difficult or disruptive rather than offensive? Don't ignore employees who are being unkind or hostile to others. Don't indulge their behaviour. The longer you allow an employee to behave in a negative way, the hard it'll be to tackle their conduct. Some examples of behaviour you might already be overlooking are:
  • Frequent cursing or swearing.
  • Confrontational attitude towards colleagues or management.
  • Poor work habits.
  • Tardiness.
For behaviour such as in this list to constitute misconduct, it must be frequent and severe.

Conduct a Face-to-Face Meeting

And ensure you have evidence, such as lateness statistics or a letter of complaint regarding their conduct. Rumours or gossip aren't enough. Meetings to discuss conduct can be awkward, even confrontational. Try to remain calm, and don't engage in an argument no matter how intent on creating one your employee seems. Include another member of senior management in the meeting, such as your employee's line manager. Or, if you have one, an HR manager. A third party creates room for mediation and suppresses the chances of a one-one-one argument.

Severity of Misconduct

Many examples of employee misbehaviour can constitute misconduct. From sleeping at work to workplace violence. It's important to treat employee conduct with the deliberation it deserves. For example, if someone is falling asleep at their desk, it may be that the employee has a sleep disorder, or is suffering from exhaustion due to their heavy workload. In such a case, have a private discussion with your employee. Discuss their sleep situation and brainstorm adjustments that both parties could make. For example, you might look into introducing a green room, where employees could take short power naps (as long as they make up the time). And your employee could try to increase the amount of sleep they're getting each night or even speak to their doctor. On the other hand, behaviour such as workplace violence or workplace affairs can lead to employment tribunals. Not to mention potential financial and reputational damage.

Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures

So, to deal with all of these issues and more, ensure you have well-defined procedures for disciplinaries and for grievances. Split your procedures into two: one for employee performance; the other for their conduct at work. Communicate your procedures and your policies. Give staff a copy of all important documents, including the employee or company handbook, when they join the business. Whenever you update a policy, email your staff to inform them. In addition, remind your staff of your procedures before you hold a disciplinary or grievance hearing. You should try to conduct an informal meeting to resolve an issue as early as possible. But if this fails, you should follow up with decisive action. Begin with an investigation to establish the facts of the case and speak with any witnesses. After this, you should invite the alleged offender to a hearing. Following the hearing, you must decide on the outcome. If you decide to discipline the employee, you must follow a fair procedure as set out in your company's policies handbook. You must also allow your employee to appeal your decision if they wish. Acas has a wealth of information about fair and reasonable procedures. If an employee makes a claim against you that results in an employment tribunal, evidence that you followed Acas's guidelines may support your case.

Expert Advice About Employee Conduct

If you're having trouble with employee attitude or conduct, contact Croner's experts on 0808 145 3374.

Free to Download Employer Resources

  • Pay Awards & Forecast (September 2018)

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Pay Awards & Forecast (September 2018...

    Read Croner Reward's expert settlement and forecast report for September 2018

    Read more
  • Sample Health & Safety Policy Statement

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Sample Health & Safety Policy Stateme...

    Here we’ve included a free sample Health & Safety Policy Statement that UK business owners can refer to.

    Read more
  • Pay Awards & Forecast (June 2018)

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Pay Awards & Forecast (June 2018)

    Read Croner Reward's expert Settlements and Forecasts report for June 2018

    Read more
  • How Much Does Employee Turnover Cost Your Business?

    BLOG

    How Much Does Employee Turnover Cost ...

    A recent Glassdoor survey revealed that almost 35% of hiring professionals expec...

    Read more
  • Staff Turnover: What Do You Need to Know?

    BLOG

    Staff Turnover: What Do You Need to K...

    Having a high worker turnover can have mean two things: A negative impact on you...

    Read more
  • What is Wrongful Dismissal?

    BLOG

    What is Wrongful Dismissal?

    If you breach an employee’s contract, you could be liable for wrongful dismissal...

    Read more
  • bemrose-school-derby

    CASE STUDY

    Bemrose School Derby

    “Having Croner-i saves us a lot of time and money, as we do not have to use cred

    Read more
  • wmtr

    CASE STUDY

    WMTR

    “I’d definitely recommend the Croner OnSite services and I have done already, I

    Read more
  • certikin

    CASE STUDY

    Certikin

    “Our Distribution Manager had a particularly technical query relating to respira

    Read more

Ready to focus on what you do best?

Get your free consultation and speak to an expert today.