You may not have been able to escape the little ghouls and goblins during Halloween but these frightening creatures have no place at work. Unfortunately most workplaces have their fair share of scary employees, so learning to cope with difficult employees is vital. If you’ve ever read Robert Fulghum’s poem “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” you may agree that many of the life skills we learn as children can be applicable to our adult and work lives. So, why is it that so many employees seem to make life so difficult? These tough employees can weigh heavily on employee morale and employee productivity, not to mention it makes striving to be an exceptional workplace nearly impossible. In HR, we often want to just pull these employees aside and just say “Play nice!”. A few childhood lessons to practice in the workplace:
- “Play fair.” Backstabbing has no place in the workplace. You’re are in it for the same reason and that’s achieving the company’s mission and goals. It does no one any good to undermine the efforts of their co-workers or not working their hardest to achieve company goals.
- “Live a balanced life.” In the adult world, we call it work-life balance. Employers should value their employees personal time and employees should take the time to shut off their electronics and step away from work. Good work-life balance makes for happier and more engaged employees.
- “Clean up your own messes.” It boils down to being respectful of others. We all play a part in keeping the office space clean, so don’t walk away with a mess in your wake (this includes conference rooms, break rooms, kitchens, etc.)
- “Warm cookies and milk are good for you.” Employees love a little snack break. Think about sponsoring an afternoon work break with cookies and treats to break up the day.
- “Sing and dance and play and work every day some.” Have fun at work. Research has shown that happy employees are more engaged and productive.
- “Take a nap every afternoon.” There’s a new a trend for companies to install areas where employees can take a quick cat nap during the work day. These employees report being more productive and engaged. Does this make sense for your company?
- “LOOK. Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.” Sometimes you may need to think out-of-the-box to solve tough business problems. Work collaboratively with co-workers to find answers.
So, the moral of the story is to play nice in the sandbox and for a healthy, productive and successful work environment.