How to combat challenging behaviour at work

How to combat challenging behaviour at work

Table of contents

Challenging behaviour has a domino effect on the workplace. Typically, challenging behaviour begins due to a difficult workplace culture. It’s important not to point the finger here because sometimes the beahviour is actually a reflection of the company culture or the way the leadership team acts. 

Often, employees fall into bad habits at work. It’s unlikely that any one employee is behaving poorly on purpose. However, the ongoing impact must be prevented from reaching other employees. 

Clear communication, and opening a discourse with employees is key to learning more about challenging behaviour in the workplace. Once identified, you need to consider how to make behavioural changes. Effective training and support mechanisms are critical to combatting challenging behaviour at work.

Listen and learn

One of the first steps to managing challenging behaviour, is understanding that behaviour. Consider why that individual may be acting that way. It can be easy to take this personally as a colleague or manager, but there can be many reasons for challenging behaviour. 

According to Susan Michies’ COM-B framework, there are three main contributors to behaviour. These are: 

  • Capability
  • Opportunity
  • Motivation

Each of these may be contributing to challenging behaviour in the workplace. Take the time to understand where challenging behaviours, whether individual or a group, might be originating from. 

In this case, capability would refer to an employees ability to carry out appropriate behaviours, or certain tasks. Consider whether they have been given the tools to improve their capability at work. 

Opportunity refers to the available opportunities to engage in appropriate behaviours. For instance, a poor workplace culture would contribute to poor performance, productivity and poor behaviour in the long term. Consider the culture within their teams, or their close colleagues.

Finally, learn more about an employees motivations. Are they feeling motivated? Consider what might be contributing to their lack of motivation. Motivated employees strive for the best for their employer.

You can carry out individual support sessions to delve further into the problem. These should be available to all employees, and allow management to learn further about challenging behaviour and actions. Ultimately, learning prevents the same issues being repeated further on.

team sat in discussion in supportive environment encouraging positive behaviour

Support

Once you have established the reasons behind employee behavioural difficulties, you need to offer support. This support might be to understand the individual further, and learn more about why they are behaving a certain way. Support might also involve providing means to make behavioural changes. 

Either way, workforce change isn’t possible without a driving force. Team leaders and managers need to understand what their employees need, and how they can help. 

Around 67% of unhappy employees don’t feel valued by their workplace. This creates a domino effects of challenging behaviour, through social interaction.

Consider where you can provide the best opportunities for change, and motivate your employees. For example, are your employees able to progress within their roles? How often do you provide promotion opportunities? This can be a huge driving force for your workers. 

Take the time to arrange one-on-one’s for employees, to learn more about their challenges, and how your organisation can help.

Two female colleagues sat at computer listening to one another demonstrating positive work behaviour

Communicate

Clear communication is key in any workplace. There needs to be a conducive environment for discussion between employees, team leads and managers. Around 86% of employees state that communication is the cause of workplace failures. Ultimately, this is a problem with a relatively simple fix.

Challenging a person’s behaviour needs to be met with clear expectations. Your employees need to understand what is expected of them, and where their behaviour is missing the mark.

As mentioned, often employees fall into bad habits. They may not always realise that their behaviour is presenting problems for others. 

For the longest-serving employees, it will have been some time since they were onboarded, and made aware of working expectations. Consider refreshing and reminding your employees about contributing to a conducive work environment. This ensures that new hires, and existing employees, are all on the same page. 

Ensure that all employees have a direct line of communication, to discuss any issues or questions, too.

Training

Training is where challenging behaviour is converted. Effective training can mean the difference between a positive workplace culture, and a negative one. 

The right training can motivate employees, and drive them towards promotion within your company. They should also feel confident in their duties and decision-making. It’s important that training is engaging and impactful, to make real change to challenging moments and behaviour. Provide information resources and training sessions on a regular basis.

Digital experiences are an innovative training tool for the workplace. They can be used to implement regulatory changes or behavioural changes throughout teams or a workforce. 

Impactful training is engaging, and digital experiences utilize gamification and scenario-based narratives to engage learners. Rather than books of information and tests, digital experiences focus on practical learning and actions. For instance, digital experiences demonstrate what a colleague should do when confronted with specific situations, and allow them to act out that scenario.

Around 87% of millennials said that learning and development in the workplace was important to them. Consider the impact that engaging training could have on the motivations and productivity of your employees.

At BAD, we understand the impact that behaviours can have on a workplace. We build digital experiences to help you implement changes in your workforce, and keep employees happy in the workplace. Ultimately, productive employees, with a good workplace culture, benefit your business the most. Get in touch with us today to discuss your next training requirements. 

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How to combat challenging behaviour at work

Challenging behaviour has a domino effect on the workplace. Typically, challenging behaviour begins due to a difficult workplace culture. It’s important not to point the finger here because sometimes the beahviour is actually a reflection of the company culture or the way the leadership team acts.

Often, employees fall into bad habits at work. It’s unlikely that any one employee is behaving poorly on purpose. However, the ongoing impact must be prevented from reaching other employees.