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Susan M. Heathfield

Annoying Employees?

By November 21, 2013

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Maybe it's the changing season, but I have had several emails in the past week about how to hold difficult conversations with annoying employees.

You know the employees I mean. Perhaps she has bad breath. Perhaps he needs to bathe more often. Maybe, she clicks her teeth all day long and is driving her coworkers crazy. Maybe she talks too loudly on the phone all day. Escalating a bit...

Perhaps your annoying employee talks over other people in meetings and becomes defensive when called on the behavior by coworkers. Possibly, she hums in her cubicle or plays music much too loudly. Or, she wears so much cologne that you can smell her coming when she hits the door. I've had to address all of these situations and more with annoying employees.

Annoying Employees at HR Morning

Here's a bonus from HR Morning about annoying employees. They cite a poll from Opinion Research that queried 1,800 people about the habits of coworkers that respondents found most annoying. The people interviewed said these behaviors annoyed them the most:

  • Grumpy or moody co-workers (37%).
  • Gossipers (19%).
  • The use of jargon (18%).
  • Loud phone talkers (18%).
  • Poor toilet etiquette - yuck! (16%).

Take a look at the whole article for the details at HR Morning, a daily service from PBP Media, that I recommend.

How to Deal With Annoying Employees

If you work with people, I'll bet you have had to address tough situations, too. Looking for more tips about handling difficult conversations with annoying employees? Start with: How to Hold a Difficult Conversation. Then, move on to nine more tips for your toughest situations and most difficult conversations: Difficult Conversations: How to Tackle Annoying Employee Habits and Issues. See also my newest article about the seven steps you can take to manage a negative employee.

From past reader comments, Robert suggests that most employees who are exhibiting annoying behavior are unaware that it is annoying coworkers and are appalled when they find out it is. Another reader suggests that if it is new behavior, it could be related to illness. (See the comments below.)

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More About Dealing With Annoying Employees

April 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm
(1) Robert says:

Taking loud maybe a sign of Heart Disease. A lack of oxygen to the lungs makes it difficult to breath. They take in less oxygen making it necessary to expel faster, even when talking which makes them louder. It could be a warning sign. I’d tell them so they can talk to their Doctor about it. It may be something they can’t control normally.

I gave a loud employee his own office just to keep him. Everyone benefited and no one complained. He did have heart problems after all.

People behave for reasons. We have to find the reason. Did they change during their employment? Or from day one? That’s important to know. What’s changed in their life or work situation that started the new behavior.

November 28, 2013 at 11:45 pm
(2) Rebecca@TakeThisJobOrShoveIt.com says:

Nice post and very informational Susan!
An annoying coworker or employee sometimes means that he or she is into something. Things like the family, personal issues and sometimes the company itself are the determining factors why a certain employee or coworker behaves that way. The best way to deal with them is to know what situation they are into and try to understand them. Talking to them is also a good medium.

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