How to Break Employee Bad Habits

December 15, 2015

Nobody is perfect, and employees are no exception to the rule, but it can be hard to identify when you need to intervene. Previous jobs can cultivate bad habits that aren’t always easy to remedy and under-performers may actually be craving extra responsibility.


Here are three easy points that can help employers get the most out of their employees.


Give proper training


When an employee starts at your company it is important to give them proper training in the way your company works. Most companies are particular about their ethos. Letting new employees know what makes your business different, and thus your new hires, allows them to feel part of the team and to know what is expected of them.


If your employee has been with you a while but is continuing to show a bad habit that slows down productivity or creates a bad office atmosphere giving them relevant training may be the best answer.


Smaller investments in training can go a long way, for example subscribing to an online learning platform like Lynda. By putting money towards employees professional development you’re not only helping them gain relevant skills, but showing your investment in their career.


Lead by example


If you’re demonstrating bad managerial or coaching habits then you cannot expect to help employees with their bad work habits. If you are leading a team you have to be self critical of your own performance to ensure you are delivering the best example.


Analyzing your own managerial habits can help your employees to change theirs. It’s important to ask your employees questions about the issue that is causing bad habits, rather than directly lecturing them. Find the root of the issue and deal with that, rather than telling them to simply change. As with any problem, understanding the cause makes it much easier to solve in the long term, rather than putting a band-aid on it.


Maintain a positive working environment


Employees are far more likely to respond to feedback if a positive environment has been maintained. This can come in the form of the ‘softening’ effect of a smiley face in an email to allowing your employees autonomy to show trust.

A happy workplace will put employees more in the mood to please, making them far more likely to engage in changing bad habits when notified of them. Demonstrating trust in employees can be a huge factor in this. Showing you trust them to work to the best of their ability can help them regain motivation and allow you to guide them into developing habits of best practice rather than bad ones.

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