One of the greatest headaches of any owner or manager is a difficult employee. A difficult employee can take something you love and turn it into something you dread and make a negative impact on your other employees and customers.  So why do you have difficult employees and what can you do about it?

  1. The problem has not been addressed.

As we work through the issues owners and managers have with difficult employees, we find that  many times the problem isn’t addressed until it becomes unbearable. When an issue arises, one of the things you should do and say is this, “Walk with me”.  Take a walk and talk to the employee about the issue. Many times, the employee is not trying to make everyone else’s lives terrible; they may not understand what is expected of them.

One issue that we see often in dealerships is a chronically late employee. Often, it starts out with the employee being just a few minutes late and, in other cases we have seen where the issue of being on time has become so lax that employees feel free to come and go as they please. The owner and managers become frustrated and ask why the employees don’t care. The truth is, whatever you don’t address, you allow.

Now, I’m not saying that you need to micromanage your people. But, if timeliness is important to you, you need to address it as soon as it starts happening. No one benefits from you avoiding the conflict.

  1. You aren’t utilizing performance reviews.

We are big believers in utilizing performance reviews. If you need a template, you can find one in our Dealer Toolbox. Whenever we (here at BCI) or the dealers we work with complete performance reviews, we always see a benefit to investing the time and effort.

For example, often the employees that you are having the most problems with may not know what is expected of them. By conducting a performance review gives you an opportunity to clarify expectations.

Take time to do performance reviews on all of your employees at least once a year, but ideally twice a year.  Before you conduct the performance review, ask the employee to complete the review on themselves as well. This will allow you to see anywhere there is confusion and provide good discussion points.  In addition, it will also lower the employees apprehension since they know what they are being reviewed on.

If there is an issue that comes up, don’t wait until the next performance review to check on the progress of it.  Come up with a plan that allows you to follow up until the problem is resolved or the person is no longer part of your team.

  1. Stick to your employee handbook.

Another reason that so many owners and managers struggle with difficult employees is that they don’t follow what they have outlined in their employee handbook. Your employee handbook is simply your HR process. Just like any other process in your dealership, if you don’t follow it, you have to become a fire fighter instead of a manager or coach.  Following the processes that are outlined in your employee handbook will not only let your employees know what is expected of them, without having to come ask you every time, but can also protect you from legal issues down the road.

If you need an employee handbook, we have a template in our Dealer Toolbox.

Sara Hey

About Sara Hey

Sara Hey is the Vice President of Operations and Development for Bob Clements International. She has spoken at conferences across the country educating dealers on the internal aspects of their business. She graduated from North Park University in Chicago, Illinois, and has been a contributing writer for BCI for 3 years.