6 tricky staff situations (and how to fix them)

If you’re a manager, it’s likely you’ll have to face some tough situations with staff. Here are 6 of the trickiest staff scenarios and some expert tips on how to handle them effectively.


#1. Someone on your team isn’t performing

Many things can affect someone’s performance at work. Sometimes it could be personal challenges like family distractions or health problems. Other times it could signal an issue with their workload, training or understanding of their duties.

Dealing with an under-performing employee requires delicacy. If it’s work-related, they may be resistant to feedback, or refuse to acknowledge there’s a problem.

If that’s the case, reiterate the importance of maintaining strong performance levels and seek their opinions on whether they could benefit from additional support.

This could be in the form of training, reduced workload, greater incentives, more realistic KPI’s or one-on-one mentoring. Make sure they’re clear on their responsibilities and tactfully outline the impact of continued poor performance.


#2. There’s a conflict between staff members

Managing conflict within your team requires effective communication and mediation skills. Encourage open dialogue from everyone involved and take the time to understand each person’s perspective.

At this point it’s useful to re-establish some ground rules for communicating respectfully, but ultimately you’ll need to step in and facilitate a compromise or resolution.

Be mindful of showing favouritism; fairness is key. That’s assuming both parties are equally responsible, however. It may be that there’s bullying, gaslighting or inappropriate behaviour at play, in which case you’ll need to take appropriate disciplinary measures.

Quite often, these situations can continue or escalate even after a resolution’s been reached, so continue to monitor the situation and step in again early on if you need to.


#3. One of your most valuable employees resigns

Losing a valuable team member can disrupt workflow and morale. Before you jump in with a counter-offer or other tactics to try and retain them, first you need to fully understand their reasons.

If they’re simply not happy with their remuneration package, consider offering incentives like a salary increase, bonus, flexible hours or even a promotion.

But if they’re leaving because of a problem within the business, listen actively to their concerns and, if it’s possible, propose tangible solutions. However, if their mind’s made up, you’ll need to respect that and thank them for their contribution.

Then, create a transition plan. If your team is already stacked, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to redistribute responsibilities to them; you’ll need to enlist expert recruiters as soon as possible.


#4. You start to notice team morale is low

If low morale has already spread through your team, you’ve got a problem. Don’t take it upon yourself to decide what you think your staff want. We’ve often seen managers taking teams out for meals or drinks as an attempted morale-booster, and while it’s a nice idea, it won’t solve the issue.

To address low morale, you’ll need a proactive and empathetic approach. Determine what’s dragging your team down by speaking with team members individually or conducting anonymous surveys to gain honest feedback.

Are their targets unrealistically high? Do they feel undervalued? Are they juggling an unrealistic workload? Do they have enough support? Once you’ve identified the main issues, you may need to review team targets or provide additional support.

Setting realistic goals, understanding where your team are stretched and developing strategies to ensure they feel appreciated is crucial. Longer-term, make sure your team know they can approach you any time to discuss issues openly.


#5. An employee wants to work remotely

Candidates greatly value flexible working opportunities these days, and companies who show understanding of employees’ needs – whether it’s having to do the school run or needing to accommodate other personal responsibilities – attract far more talent than those who don’t.

But what happens if an employee wants to work entirely from home?Homeworking is impossible in some roles. But before you automatically decline their request, carefully evaluate whether it is indeed feasible.

Consider too the logistics as well as the impact on your team and your organisational objectives. If it’s not possible, it’s not possible. But maybe there are other options that could work – such as hybrid working, flexible hours, temporary remote working or a compressed working week.


#6. Some of your staff don’t participate in events

Representing your business at exhibitions and conferences, attending seminars or getting involved in sales events are sometimes essential. Company social events, however, are a little less cut and dry.

While it’s generally recognised that the occasional post-work dinner or drinks evening can strengthen team morale and boost employee engagement, many people place greater value on their work-life balance and are understandably reluctant to give up their time outside of work.

Therefore, it’s important to explore and consider the needs and preferences of team members, and if you do have socials outside of work, make it optional.

If you provide social events as a reward for hard work, it’s also recommended to ask your staff what they’d value most – perhaps gift cards, subscriptions or ordering food for the office would be more appreciated.


About A and D Recruitment 

A&D Recruitment is a vibrant, independent employment agency specialising in Renewable Energy & Building Services sectors. 

Founded by recruitment experts Alessia and Darren Williams, A&D Recruitment has successfully placed candidates in a diverse range of roles since 2005.  

To get in touch, call 01743 247774 or email on info@aanddrecruitment.co.uk