Problem employees can cause stress at the workplace, both on production and the morale of other employees. Problem employees include those who are often late or absent, don't do their share of the workload and lack overall professionalism on the job. The key to dealing with problem employees is to develop a clearly defined and consistent approach that applies equally to all employees, with a goal of early intervention to correct problems.
Write a policy that clearly defines problem behavior and consequences of such behavior, if one doesn't exist already. Companies generally have an employee handbook in place that outlines the most common issues and company policy regarding how those issues are handled. Keep a copy on hand and make sure all employees have a copy as well. Recommend to your employees they read the handbook completely, but to pay particular attention to the sections regarding professional work behavior.
Implement an intervention program that you apply across the board, with no exceptions. This plan should include detailed procedures for identifying problem employees and taking necessary steps to correct the issues. The consequences detailed should include warnings, probation, counseling and even dismissal from the job. The procedures detailed should include the actions that will be taken for specific infractions of company policy and at what point those actions will be taken. Be sure everything you discuss with employees regarding this intervention program is in writing so there can be no disputes.
Read through the employee handbook at regular staff meetings to ensure that your employees know company policy regarding unprofessional behavior, habitual tardiness or being absent from work, bullying other employees and failure to complete job responsibilities. This ensures your employees all know the same rules. Explain you intervention plan to make sure all employees know how it works and how it will be applied.
Call problem employees to the supervisor's office to address the problem according to the procedures established in the handbook and reiterated at staff meetings. Determine the action you need to take according to the intervention plan that you've discussed. Depending upon the problem and how many times it has occurred, write a warning, place the problem employee on probation or terminate the employee. If you've documented all infractions and the employee has been informed fairly of the policies in the employee handbook, the consequences are justified.