Problem Employee Making you want to Explode?


Sometimes there are employees that just “seem” to go out of their way to make your working life just that little bit more difficult, BUT before you finally lose it and have a blow up of epic proportion stop and consider perhaps an alternative way to deal with it.

Discuss it honestly with them – Sounds easy enough doesn’t it! Well it really can be, put your anger on ice and have a calm and open conversation with them. Start by explaining what you and/or perhaps others have observed and welcome their position on it, and listen to their side of the story. Only then will you be able to set out some clear expectations for improving the relationship.

Set progress levels – Change doesn’t happen over night but by setting goals that you can both agree on that are reasonable and achievable, over time the conflict can be resolved. This way you will have something measureable to work with.

Give Feedback – No one knows what they are doing right or wrong if you never tell them. You must give feedback, perhaps as each deadline is reached let the employee know how they went. If you are noticing positive changes in their behaviour, let them know. You are building the foundations on which you can build a better more positive relationship AND work ethic.

Take action if necessary – If the employee fails to meet the expected level of improvement you may have no choice but to go down the disciplinary or even termination route. Not something to be taken lightly and if you do not have an HR department within your company, you must seek the advice of an HR specialist (of course that’s what we are so feel free to contact us!). Remember if you have set out your targets as outlined above it is easy to measure performance against them.

Lastly how do you avoid this happening again going forward with future employees? Well you must start with yourself. Most employees do not intentionally decide to be trouble makers or perform their duties poorly, perhaps they just don’t know what they are meant to be doing fully or know the level of expectation. Are you setting clear objectives for them to follow? Do you meet with them regularly to help build a good, mutually respecting relationship? Do you ignore the little things that are wrong just to avoid conflict hoping they will go away? Answer these questions honestly to yourself and implement the changes YOU may need to, now.

For any help and advice on employee engagement and motivation get in touch with the HR Revolution team!

The HRRev Blogger

A version of this blog first appeared on the Smart company website.

What does your employer brand promise?

Now I’m not an employer branding specialist, I don’t have training in how employer brands should be put together or indeed any methodologies that are used, but what I do know is that by starting a couple of businesses myself in the past it is so important to get your branding right, it says everything about you and the business you are promoting… and has a huge impact in the people that REALLY want to work for you and the products and services you are promoting.

As business owners we all have a mission.. to make a success of our business!  For each of us that success will be different; revenue, size, growth, reputation, global domination whatever it is we all have the same mission… to be successful.

To achieve that mission there are many key objectives to focus on; ensuring your product and service is right for the market, driving profits, hiring the right team to get you there, finding the best suppliers for quality, cost and delivery; to get this all right you must focus on your brand message…  the message that people (those people that could be potential customers, suppliers or employees!!) see… the vibe you are giving off to the business world!

Think of a business that you would love to emulate, a business that if you were a potential employee, you would love to work for… why?  What attracts you to them? In the main it will be the brand that has got you interested in the first place.  Think Apple, Nike, IBM, Google, Adidas, Victoria Secrets, Ralph Lauren, Porsche, VW… their brands are all very well defined and have an air of trend about them that makes you want to belong to their club! Just like being back at school! As human beings we naturally want to belong, to be part of a tribe, and that’s how the branding process works… learn how to build your own club your tribe and you are half way there.

How do you know what your ‘club’ is or your ‘tribe’ should be?

Well that depends on what your culture is… at the centre of your brand is the beating heart of your culture… once you have worked out exactly what that is and can put that down in paper and hey presto! Your employer brand begins…

– What are the things that make your best employees tick?

– What is the ethos of the business?

– What is important to you as a business owner, your morals, your ethics in business?

– What do you expect from your teams?

– Every brand has a promise… what is your promise to potential employees?

These are just some of the starting questions to ask yourself.

Now all you need to do is build your employee offering around that… create your job expectations, training manuals, build your induction and orientation programmes, design and tailor your appraisal and review processes and your staff handbooks to mirror and echo this brand promise and expectation and voilà your people processes are in place and ready to roll.

HRREV Blogger, HR Revolution | HR Outsourcing UK


Let me guess….you dread telling someone that they have been unsuccessful for a position within your company?

Let me guess….you dread telling someone that they have been unsuccessful for a position with your company? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. So why do people harbour this deep rooted fear towards giving feedback over the phone? Probably because there is a negative stigma attached to giving and receiving feedback. But ‘feedback’ is being looked at all wrong and it doesn’t have to be this way…

Telling someone that they are ‘unsuccessful’ is not actually giving feedback, it is just the outcome. If you give people details on their interview performance, you are instead telling the person how they can improve, so they can do better next time. Whether they need some additional experience and/or exposure, or just some feedback on how they perform in an interview situation, it is 100% more effective for candidates to get feedback directly rather than to sit around wondering what on earth they did wrong! Sure, there are candidates out there who are ‘not the best’, but by giving them feedback we can make them that little bit better.

If a candidate has physically come in to meet with you, then calling them directly is a must, as it will show them that you value you the time they took to come and meet with you. It will also portray a professional company image #freeemployerbranding. And let’s be honest, a phone call can be as quick if not quicker than writing feedback in an email. We just need to get rid of the fear of the phone!

The first step in becoming more confident with issuing feedback is being armed with the facts. If you have a proper recruitment process and a good interview question guide, then you should have no problems issuing a valid and factual reason as to why the candidate is not successful. “We don’t feel you are the right fit”, will not cut it. It can seem a little personal and a candidate has the right to read into it. They can even assume in extreme cases that you are not moving forward due to discriminative reasoning. The word ‘feeling’ really has no place in any feedback setting. Facts should be presented.

 “The other candidate we interviewed was stronger” is also right up there in most hated reasons for being declined from a position. If it actually is the case, then there will still be a clear reason why the other candidate was chosen over the one you are declining… so write it down and let the candidate know why the other was hired instead of them. Beware of using this as an ‘excuse’ for not selecting a candidate if it is not the entire reason they have not been successful. You don’t want to give unsuccessful candidate/s the false impression that you would in fact hire them if the other candidate fell through and the job became available again. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way… just remember, it’s important to be honest.

Here are some examples to help you build confidence towards giving ‘over the phone’ feedback.

“We thought you had some really great experience surrounding customer service and sales however when it came to our questioning surrounding prioritising a changing work load, you unfortunately couldn’t provide us with a strong example of when you have worked with changing priorities and how you dealt with them as a result and this is such an important aspect of the role. I know interviews can be a little nerve racking so if it was just nerves that got the best of you my best advice would be to take your time and ask to revisit a question if you can’t think of an example straight away.”

“We thought your experience was fantastic however during the interview your confidence towards your work didn’t come across the way we would have liked. Within this role you will be dealing with some very strong personalities which you would need to manage daily and because you couldn’t demonstrate enough conviction in your ideas and approaches, we don’t have the confidence that you would be the best match for the team. I understand if it was just nerves however this has affected the outcome in this instance.”

Emily M, HR Revolution blogger

Interview Boo Boo No.5 – Don’t Beg!

Did you apply for the job because you fancied a day out OR did you think, that is the job for me, I am quailed and I can do it brilliantly. Have they invited you to the interview just to kill some time, they had some quota to fill NO it was because they believe you are capable of doing the job.

If you spend the whole time looking for signs on their face for approval of what you are saying and just sit saying what you think they want to hear such as “if you give me a chance I am sure I could do it” is tantamount to grovelling…. In short begging. You don’t sound sure of yourself at all. You are there because you are great, you are perfect for the job and they are going to hire you.  I’m not saying be cocky but be confident and have courage in your answers, you will come across much more capable than your stuttering counterpart.

I hope you have enjoyed our advice this week! check in next week to see what we’re talking about 🙂

-The HR Revolution Blogger

Interview Boo Boo No.4 – Not Learning from It

Every interview teaches you more about what employers are looking for and is great experience, but they can also tell you about different software or techniques too. Use every experience to make sure you learn about things you don’t already know.

For example, you are going for a marketing internship, they ask you “have you ever used mailchimp?” You answer “no, I’m not familiar with that.” What have you learnt? Not only do they now  think you don’t know what your talking about but you just missed out on hearing about what could be the next big thing in marketing!

Why not say “That sounds like an email marketing package. I haven’t used it but I am very used to working with dotmailer. What make you use Mailchimp? Obviously I am happy to train on it, but perhaps I could show you how the other works too for comparison?” Not only have you asked them a question so you get to learn about mailchimp for if anyone asks in the future, but they also know that you have experience are willing to learn and could also possibly bring something new to the table!

Voila they will remember you for a lot longer than the person that just said “no sorry”.

Check in tomorrow for Boo Boo No.5

-The HRREV Blogger

Interview Boo Boo No.3 – Answering Yes/No then…. Nothing, Boring!

huff, I was bored just writing that sentence!

Most interviews follow a similar pattern and most interviewers will ask similar questions so be prepared and know how you would answer things. If they ask “so what do you think of the role?” don’t answer with “yeah sounds great” then stop….boring, they have forgotten you already. Make your answer count, bring your personality into it make them stop and think there is no-one out there that wants this more or could do it better. They may often be standard questions but you don’t have to be just standard.

Here are some typical questions you may get asked so you can get yourself prepared:

What are your strengths?

What are your weakness?

What can you bring to the role?

What was it about the role that made you apply?

Where do you want to be in 5 years?

Ok, I know these are the super generic questions but people do ask them so have something ready to knock their socks off not bore them to tears!

Check in tomorrow for Boo Boo No.4

-The HRREV Blogger

Interview Boo Boo No.2 – Not Having a Question to Ask!

Really, you got nothing?!?! your future depends on this!

“How many holidays do I get”, just won’t cut the mustard! Well if you are 16 and it is your first interview you may be forgiven but as you get older you need to be more aware and business savvy! Here are a few that might help you:

How has this role come about, is it a new position due to growth? (obviously if that hasn’t been covered)

What are the biggest goals for the company this year?

How will I play a part in reaching those goals?

How will I make your life easier? What are the problems I will be tackling straight off?

And don’t forget jot down any questions that arise as you go so you can ask those, you don’t want to have a list of 3 questions that get covered and you’re then left saying “no I think you’ve covered it”. React to the conversation and show that you are really interested in what they are saying.

Check out tomorrows Boo Boo No.3

-The HRREV Blogger

Interview Boo Boo No.1 – Not Doing Your Homework!

Don’t turn up to an interview without being prepared, it really is the worst mistake.

Not knowing who you are there to meet, what the actual job role is and what the company does are HUGE NO NO’s….. Just do your homework. Here is a list of the basics you should make yourself know about:

What does the company do, what services do they sell?

What is the general feel of the company? Are they corporate, are they techie, are they big on branding get a feel for the culture.

Have they taken part in recent events? perhaps they have won and award or been nominated.

Are they in press anywhere?

Is it privately owned if so by who?

The internet is a fantastic tool and will tell you all you need to know to be armed. Take a look at the company website to gather most your information, the “about us” and “what we do” pages will tell you a lot of what you need, for anything else Google can be your best friend!

Check in tomorrow for Boo Boo No.2!

-The HRREV Blogger

Managers, Please DON’T Say that Out Loud!

Even if you are thinking these things please inwardly digest what you are about to say, think about what you really mean, re-tweak and say something Actually Appropriate instead!!!

Here are just 4 of what I think are really Not the best statements to come out of a Managers mouth….

Don’t bring me a problem unless you have the answer.

(surely if we knew that we wouldn’t be at your door! anyway….)

What I’m hoping you really mean: Please don’t expect me to just do everything for you. If so…

Try: Ok, so what’s the problem and what have you already tried or come up with already?

I Pay Your Salary, You do what I say!

(Seriously how degrading is that to someone!?!?)

What I’m hoping you really meat: The job needs to get done and I am ultimately accountable so help me out. If you have any ideas let’s hear them. If so…..

Try: Dropping your really bad attitude altogether! No seriously, just stress the importance of the issued task but ask for suitable suggestions on getting the job done better.

I Don’t want to listen to Your Complaints.

What I’m hoping you really meant: Obviously I want to support you with legitimate, justified issues but please don’t gossip. If so….

Try: My door is always open to listen to constructive feedback or if you have an issue you need to talk through; perhaps you need to vent for a while.

We’ve Always done it this way.

(Your way or the highway is it?)

What I’m hoping you really meant: Things have been done the same way for a long time but that doesn’t always mean that’s right. If so…

Try: We are always open to suggestions on how things can be improved, what can you bring to the table

You may have read that thinking, surely people don’t actually take like that, well sadly they do and I’m sure a lot worse too.

Now I know that Managers can also have the hump, or be under a huge amount of pressure but the art to being a good manager is knowing how to deal with this so as not to affect their team and when not to just speak without thinking. Managers actions have a much bigger impact on others working day and their environment in general. No one wants to feel like they are working for a dictator where their views and ideas are not listened to or problems are dismissed out of hand, so remember that next time someone knocks on your door!

Cheesy I know but Managers try this simple rule of thumb: Learn to Listen to your employees, Praise in Public and Reprimand in Private and you will have a much happier camp!

Hope you found this useful… The HR Revolution Blogger!

Boys vs Girls – Yes it’s still going!

It’s the age old battle of girls vs boys and it continues as we get older, men vs women!  The EU’s plans to impose quotas are still some way off, but there is a general acceptance if member states do not move to a more diverse board structure voluntarily, legislators will enforce quotas in order to increase the pace of change and ensure female representation in listed companies across Europe.

Surely its common sense that a diverse workforce, not just meaning men vs woman, naturally leads to a diverse pool of talent, ideas, different approaches to decision making and perspectives. Isn’t that what every innovative company wants to grow and expand? The future of any business depends on the people behind the brand name, but does this mean we should be thinking about imposing quotas forcing companies to take on women where they usually wouldn’t have? I’m not a scary crazy man basher, but I do believe women have as much to offer as men do in business. Even The Apprentice final was between two women last year.  However, we continually see figures showing that only 17% of the cabinet, 15% of partners in top law firms and 11% of executive committee members in leading companies are female. What’s the cause of these astounding figures is it because women don’t work as hard as men or that they don’t have the intelligence? No of course not in fact there are more than 2.4 million unemployed women who want to work!

In reality it means radically altering the deeply ingrained masculinity that can be found in most large organisations. Women shouldn’t have to behave more like men to reach the top, but perhaps a shift away from a more masculine culture is the way forward. Why does it have to be dog eat dog in business, cannot good performance and a desire to better yourself not be enough for women to achieve promotion? Why should women have to fight that much harder than men to prove themselves? The answer is they shouldn’t. Equality is not just morally important, but important for the future of business, but are quotas the answer? Do women want a job because the company’s quota says they need a woman instead of a man to meet their targets? Don’t women want to know they achieved their promotion on merit?

Outside of political circles, support for quotas is low. The vast majority of directors are concerned that the introduction of quotas will result in a move away from the merit based selection in order to ensure delivery against arbitrary targets. Boards will only be convinced that diversity matters where they can see a correlation between diversity in the workplace and where profitability rises.

Six steps to gender balance:

  1. Know your numbers – what are the gender percentages within the company, at board level, at management level, at department level.
  2. Everything starts at the top – Get the decision makers to buy-in. Once the CEO and senior team members understand their pivotal role in setting the precedent behaviours can start to change and filter through the hierarchy.
  3. Culture change – It’s about a shift away from a more masculine culture. Recognising that just because a woman operates differently to a man or does not act as aggressively that she does not have the acumen to succeed.
  4. Open minds – Put some hard work into changing mind sets across the organisation. It’s the dominant majority that will make change happen.
  5. Initiatives – Identify areas that are particularly male heavy and target initiatives at these areas.
  6. Keep going! – It’s not an easy fix so things won’t change overnight, but implementing new initiatives and changing cultures are a long-term step to improving gender balance.

From the HR Rev Bloggers!