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Any Answers: Managing rebellious staff

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“Staff who persistently challenge and undermine their employer’s authority and do so publicly need to be taken through the disciplinary procedure,” argues HR Zone member Jane Thompson. How do you manage staff who rebel against the values of the business?


Lynn Smith, a training manager working in the voluntary sector, suggests an employer who wishes to identify the extent of the problem needs to ask the following questions:

  • 1. Was the project set up before the staff came in or were they employed to set it up?
  • 2. Why and how do they feel they are a separate entity? This links to question one and is a big question on its own which could take some time and digging to find out the true answer and ways of resolving the situation.
  • 3. Have they, up to now, been involved properly in the organisation, has their manager actually managed properly(or do they have their own agenda) and been involved further up the organisation or have the staff been left on their own in terms of information, support etc?
  • 4. Have you seen the evidence yourself or have you been told about it? If it is secondhand information, I would investigate it for myself or get an outside body to do it.
  • 5. Did they get a job description, terms and conditions and a full induction? This would show they know they are in the wrong.
  • These questions could lead on to many more, and only when I had these answered these would I decide which route to take.

    Utimately if they are bringing the organisation into disrepute and damaging the organisation’s reputation, and the organisation has a policy or procedure that staff were informed about, then grievance or disciplinary procedures should be considered.

    As to helping organisations getting into this situation in the first place I would advise good employment practice, management, staff relations and maybe even some training for all levels of management and staff.

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