How to Improve Employee Behavior & Attitude

by Marcia Moore, MSSW; Updated September 26, 2017
Portrait of businesspeople

Improving an employee's behavior and attitude requires patience and dedication to the task. It is important to treat employees in a legal and ethical manner while communicating the unacceptable issues and developing a plan of action for change. In some situations, normally outstanding employees may have situations that affect their behaviors and attitudes on a temporary basis. In other situations, employees may have been successful in moving through the hiring process, but are negative influences once hired and on the job.

Items you will need

  • Written documentation of behavior and attitudes affecting work performance
  • Written documentation of investigative results
  • Written plan of action for confrontation and improvement
  • Follow-up plan for performance improvement results
Step 1

Document in writing all behavioral and attitude issues. Ensure that the documentation is in detail and that the negative attitudes are clearly defined. For example, John rolled his eyes and commented that the supervisor's request was stupid. The more accurate the documentation, the better the chances of defending the actions legally and morally.

Step 2

Conduct a complete investigation of all employee relations complaints. Companies must demonstrate fairness to employees. The plan for improvement needs to relate directly to the employee's behavior and attitude with specific examples given.

Step 3

Address the performance issues with the employee in a confidential setting. Be very specific with examples of behavior and attitudes. Since attitude is intangible, examples of the associated behaviors and actions should be presented. Refer to specific behavior, rather than attacking character.

Step 4

Involve the employee with developing the plan for improvement. The goal is to have the employee recognize the behavior and attitude issues and to agree with the plan for improvement. Ask how you may help them to improve and what cooperation you can expect in return.

Step 5

Plan to follow up in a mutually decided time frame.This is an important part of the improvement process as it will provide the necessary information for the next step. If there is significant improvement, the plan is working. If the improvement is not evident, new actions for change may need to be developed.

Tips

  • Comment on the positive behaviors and attitudes of the employee.

    Provide encouragement.

Warnings

  • Don't attack the character of an employee. Don't make accusations.

About the Author

Based in Dallas, Texas, Marcia Moore has been writing business-related materials since 1974. She has enjoyed a 30-year career in the field of human resources and works as a HR consultant to small and medium businesses. Moore holds a Master of Science in social work from the University of Texas in Arlington.

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