Ask the HR Expert: Dealing with resentment between co-workers

Peninsula Team

September 02 2011

I have an employee who works in our call centre, he is a great performer and is always thinking of new ideas to help push the business forward. The only problem is that sometimes he is too enthusiastic and occasionally gets above ‘his station’. This has created some resentment from his fellow employees. Whilst he is a good worker how would you recommend I sensitively deal with this issue? Every business has employees who occasionally cause resentment amongst their co-workers. Building strong teams can help avoid this situation. The real challenge is to turn indifferent employees into enthusiastic workers. Employee enthusiasm results in enormous advantages and stronger business performance, including customer satisfaction. Management practices play an important role when addressing an employee’s sense of achievement, equity and enthusiasm. The better an individual employee performs the greater the business will perform and in turn employee morale / enthusiasm will be higher. It would be helpful to consider introducing a regular meeting whereby all employees can participate to a certain extent in the management of the company, making employees aware of how the company is getting on and giving all staff a sense of pride in doing a good job will help ensure that certain employees do not feel left out. In the event an employee gets above their station it would be beneficial to have an informal meeting with a view to nurturing an employee’s talent for new ideas which can push the business forward. It may be helpful to ensure that the employee has a direct line of communication which avoids any contact with staff feeling resentment. Holding a counselling meeting to address issues of concern and to raise the employee’s awareness of the problem is an excellent way to resolve an employee’s behaviour. It would be important to recommend solutions during the meeting and advise the employee that a failure to improve may result in further action being taken. You should remind the employee of his position in the organisation and the chain of management above him. You need to be careful that you don’t undermine his creative input because this side of his behaviour is something you want to ensure the continuation of. Try and put into place ways to channel his enthusiasm – if he feels he has a great idea then set in place steps he should take to put that idea forward so that there is manageable process for this. He must leave the meeting feeing valued for his worthy contribution but aware of the correct procedure. He should also be reminded that professionalism is a commendable trait in the workplace and he should try to maintain this at all times. At the end of the meeting it would be advisable to ensure that the employee is clear what the company’s expectations are. Your other employees need to understand, however, that they will meet people of all personalities during their working life and that there will never be a situation where everyone likes everyone they work with. Whilst the above guidance provides a general overview of how to deal with a specific scenario, it would be beneficial to contact the 24 Hour Advice Service for specific advice. For more information please contact Peninsula’s Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.

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