Dealing with “Entitled” Employees

Q.  My employee has been with our company for a long time.  He refuses many assigned duties as well as some that are part of the job description.  I don’t think anyone in management is willing to consider termination.

A.  Simply put, it appears as though you are unable to direct the employee’s work.  If true, then you have lost control of the employment relationship.  Troubled employees who have gained this sort of leverage over their employers create a lot of risk.  Unfortunately, it is not uncommon.  Entitlement thinking may lead to bossing coworkers, bullying fellow employees, breaking work rules, end-running managers, and using company property for personal business.  Fear of the employee’s reaction to confrontation and adapting to avoid it ultimately created this personnel issue.  Start by making a formal referral to the EAP.  Document the poor cooperation, work refusal, etc.  Regardless of whether the employee accepts are referral, meet and consult with the EAP; your manager should also be involved in this meeting.  Discuss a concrete action plan.  In matters of this type, management teams that focus on a solution usually decide to draw a line and insist on change.  The good part is that most are pleasantly surprised at how easily the employee turns around!

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