How Human Resource Managers can deal with Difficult Employees


One of the key challenges that HR (Human Resource) Managers face in any organization is how they respond to employees violating organizational policies and plain disgruntled employees who are angry with their appraisals and consequent pay hikes and bonuses.

Indeed, how astutely and adroitly the HR Managers deal with such employees determines their competency and the maturity of not only them but also the organization.

It is also the case that every organization has its share of “difficult” employees and hence, how well the HR professionals rise to the challenge of dealing with them is of paramount importance.

Violations of Organizational Policie

To start with, most organizations do not take kindly to employees who violate their organizational policies.

These violations can range from as simple as using the official internet access for personal work, as medium as filing incorrect expense claims, and as severe as sexual harassment and outright violation of the organizational rules governing ethics.

Also, there are the everyday cases of employees who are not happy with their managers and hence, complain to the HR Managers about issues ranging from dissatisfaction with their present role to that of protesting the low bonuses or inadequate pay hikes.

Response of the HR Manager

Thus, each of these challenges requires a different response and involvement of other stakeholders that can range from the immediate manager to the topmost executive. For instance, if an employee is found to be using the official internet access for personal work, then he or she can be warned by the HR Manager, and at the same time, the employee’s immediate manager informed about the transgression.

In these cases, the employee typically is kept on watch, and his or her browsing activities monitored for compliance or otherwise. In most cases, such employees cease their activities and fall in line with the organizational rules.

In cases where it does not happen, the HR Manager has to take a call about more serious action against the employee, and this is where the GPM or the Group Project Manager comes into the picture. In our experience in the corporate world, we have found that some employees are also fired for these transgressions since the need to maintain organizational discipline overrides other concerns such as the performance of the employee and his or her value to the organization.

The Central Theme of this Article

Indeed, the key theme that this article is examining is how far the organization would go in maintaining compliance with organizational rules, and there are cases of employees who are fired for even apparently simple things as filing wrong expense claims since most organizations place a premium on ethical conduct and integrity of their employees.

In addition, there are instances where even if the immediate manager was tolerant, the HR Manager drew the line and insisted that the employee has to go. Indeed, it is a fact that most HR Managers are often hired and expected to uphold organizational norms and rules and also ensure that violations are punished.

Real World Examples

Turning to the more serious cases of sexual harassment and gross ethical violations such as misuse of company facilities for personal pleasure and other transgressions such as cooking up the resume, most organizations fire the concerned employees on the spot and at the same time, after building up a strong case against them lest the fired employee takes legal action alleging unfair dismissal.

Indeed, in our experience, we have come across an employee of a leading firm using the company guesthouse for his partner and himself by wrongly stating that they are married. In this case, after the preliminary inquiry and the subsequent investigation found that the employee had indeed committed the transgression and violated the organizational norms, the employee was fired immediately.

In all these cases, it is usually the HR Manager who is in charge of the investigation along with the Chief Compliance Officer and the dedicated committee that is set up to determine offense and punishment. Indeed, most organizations do not leave any scope for the line managers to take decisions regarding dismissal and it is usually these stakeholders who decide in such cases.

In these times when sexual harassment has become a serious issue, no organization is willing to brook such acts of harassment and discrimination, and this is the reason all leading organizations have dedicated committees set up for the purpose of investigating such claims.

Indeed, the laws now demand that all organizations have a committee that is comprised of both external and internal representatives wherein along with in-house staff and the HR Managers, there are external individuals representing NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) working in the field of women’s rights and other experts drawn from individuals working in the same fields.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *