Owning a business is one of the most difficult trials of humanity an entrepreneur can endure. The owner has to account for unforeseen overhead, their employee’s livelihoods, and market fluctuation. More than half of all businesses fall victim to these pits before their fifth birthday.

A business owner doesn’t need any additional headaches. Certainly not from their underlings. Here are 5 appropriate ways to deal with problem employees.

Quick, Write This Down!

If you own a business in a state that isn’t at-will, you’ll need a cause to terminate an employee if worst comes to worst. As an owner, document everything that you can.

Keeping a record of everything a troubled employee does is imperative. When it comes to that time, having a rep-sheet to review is legally important.

Writing down your employee’s workplace behavior isn’t a maniacal thing. You’re not being tough, but cautious. Cover all of your bases.

Problem Employees Need Consequences

Employees aren’t going to learn from their actions without facing the repercussions of their poor behavior. Why would they if they never get anything more than a stern talking to?

A good manager, or owner, doesn’t just take an employee’s tomfoolery. They shouldn’t be treated as well as their more cooperative colleagues.

But there’s a fine-line. Don’t immediately terminate or suspend the worker — try working with them.

If an employee consistently shows up late, offer them a different schedule. If they’re unable to keep up with that, then take gradual action against them: demotion, suspension, or promotion blocking.

Don’t Talk Down to Them or About Them

Badmouthing employees won’t get you far at all. It’s okay to vent about them on personal time, but it’s unprofessional to do otherwise.

Talking poorly about someone behind their back, especially from a higher position, weakens the bonds of teamwork. That employee isn’t going to work better or behave well; they’re going to be resentful. Resentment in the workplace is the calling card of terrible output.

It also doesn’t look to other employees under you. Nobody looks up to someone that acts slimy.

Listen and Give Feedback

Sometimes, someone just needs to be listened to. If an employee is having a hard time, be it at work or elsewhere, they might just need an ear lent to them.

Take this time to assess them and criticize them. Don’t be harsh. But offer good feedback on their work.

A troubled worker might just need to be pushed in the right direction.

Light the Fire

When all else fails, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. A business, at the end of the day, is not a charity.

After all of the alternatives have failed, you might have to cut ties with this employee. When they’re nothing more than deadweight, they need to be let go.

No More Problems

Having your own company is hard enough. Don’t let problem employees bring about extracurricular issues.

Be sure to document everything, layout consequences, don’t trash talk, listen, and give feedback, and – if all else fails – let the employee go.

Don’t let your employees get the better of your business. If you need more business insight, check out our other articles on entrepreneurship.