August 25, 2016

Managing Problematic Employees

In any business, the employees are what drive the business. This is also true for the cleaning industry because the employees are the front line in our business doing the physical job of cleaning clients’ homes. The continual, professional relationship with our employees is critical to the success of our businesses. Most of the time there are no problems and things run smoothly, however, there are times when problems may arise and there are multiple ways to approach and manage problematic employees.
Avoiding Issues
Issues arising in the workplace can occur every now and then, but to avoid bigger problems the best strategy is to have policies outlined from the start that everyone is aware of. The best approach is to give each employee in your business an employee handbook. These booklets outline all the policies that apply in your specific state such FMLA, Disability and specific policies regarding paid time off, dress code, ethics in your workplace. The employee handbook makes it so that everything is consistent across the board for everyone working in your organization. Another approach to take is holding a new employee orientation, so that the employee knows what to expect from the start.
Types of Problems
There are several different issues you might have to deal with regarding problematic employees. The majority of cases are employees and frequent call outs, tardiness and not showing up to work. Again, these topics need to be outlined as policies in your employee handbook. Other issues may involve not adhering to uniform rules, unprofessional attitude towards you or other employees that creates a negative environment, poor performance and finally there are more major issues such as drug abuse, harassment and dishonesty or theft.
For major issues such as dishonesty, drug abuse, harassment or theft, the solution is unquestionably termination of employment. Because you trust employees in your clients’ homes, these issues can harm your reputation and pose harm to your clients. For other issues such as tardiness, frequent call outs, negative attitude, not getting along with other co-workers and poor performance there is a multi-step disciplinary approach that you can use. Remember, with any disciplinary action you take, make sure to document it and place it in the employee file.
1. If the issue is with team members not getting along, the crew coordinator should hold an informal meeting before it escalates to the supervisor, where he/she listens to both sides. The two parties should try their best to resolve the issue. The last resort should be to change team members, but if the issue consistently happens then other steps are necessary.
2. Address the issue immediately with a verbal warning. It should be on record that you have spoken with specific employee about the issue. This should be entered in the employees record.
3. If the issue is repeated, the second step should be a written warning also to be included in the employees record. The employee should be made aware that if the issue arises again, they can be terminated from employment. Also, consider extra training if it is an issue with performance.
4. Finally, if all means of disciplinary action have been exhausted, the employee needs to be terminated from employment.
When you approach workplace and employee problems consistently in this manner, you set the stage for every employee on what to expect. It is only fair that employees that create issues get disciplinary action to preserve the peace of the workplace environment and ensure that your business operates smoothly. Professional behaviors and practices should be fostered and encouraged in the workplace to avoid issues and problematic employees, therefore, address any problems promptly and fairly.
Zeynep Mehmetoglu is the owner of Maid Bright, a residential cleaning company, in Sterling, Virginia, with her husband Yusuf. Find out more about Maid Bright at

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