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What can I do about a disgruntled employee?

As a business owner, you must take the proper steps to ensure your employees are happy. However, despite your best efforts, some employees may still experience issues that may result in a negative demeanor and decreased performance. Knowing how to handle disgruntled employees is key, both for the success of your business and the morale of your staff. Entrepreneur offers the following tips to help business owners and managers deal with unhappy employees.

While it may be uncomfortable, it's best to clear the air as soon as you learn of any issue. Ask to meet the employee one-on-one in a comfortable location away from other employees to have a frank conversation about their issues and concerns. Meeting with the worker in private increases the chance that he or she will be forthcoming about the issue and will also help you reach a genuine resolution. To ensure everyone is on the same page, take notes of what was discussed during the meeting and present them to the employee to sign. This will also mitigate some liability issues in the event that the employee has a different account of events.

Be prepared for the employee to react emotionally during the conversation. Respond by keeping your cool by being professional and respectful. If the worker is unable to calm down, give the employee time and space to process the information before moving forward.

Finally, address your staff about the issue. You shouldn't reveal too much detail; however, inform everyone that the issue was dealt with and the workplace should try to move on as a whole. If the problem persists and the employee is unable to correct his or her behavior, you may want to take disciplinary actions. Whatever you do, make sure the entire process is well-documented in the event that the employee files a wrongful termination suit. There is always a risk that a terminated employee will file a wrongful termination suit. Should this happen, documentation of the steps taken prior to termination and a well-recorded version of events will be helpful in your defense against the former employee.

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