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My employees don't get along


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I need some advice on what to do with my employees.

 

Three of them are returning employees... 2 of them are best friends, and they do not get along with the 3rd girl (they're all girls btw). Their problems stem from the fact that they didn't get along last year. Anyway, they all came back, the new girls started working, and now there is a divide between them. A lot of their problems are basic, personal issues that happen a lot with ppl who all live in an apartment together. However, it's gotten to the point that certain girls think that we (the managers, which includes me), are favoring certain employees. Also, their personal problems are beginning to affect their work performance. Because of that, I want to have a discussion with them about the issue.

 

I therefore decided to have a meeting with all of our employees tomorrow morning.

 

My question is, what do you think is the best way to conduct this meeting with them? Should I have each girl express their feelings one by one? Should I do all the talking, and have a Q & A type of setup? I'm afraid that they are going to start a shouting fest and bash each other, instead of having a mature conversation. I have never conducted this kind of meeting before and feel badly that this is happening with my crew this year, but it seems to have gotten to this point and I feel that it should be addressed.

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You take the lead and tell them you're not a counselor and to leave their problems at the door and if they can't, you'll fire the one who you think is the worst instigator.

 

Remind them how slim the pickings are in the job market and how that pile of resumes in your file cabinet grows thicker by the day and there's lots of qualified help out there that know where not to deal with their personal problems.

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I manage a team of about 30 people and occasionally run into this kind of thing. Generally speaking, I wouldn't recommend conducting a meeting where you encourage them to speak to each other. It's not really your job to make them like and talk to each other. As their manager, you need to express the rather simple message (to all of them) that while at work they are expected to leave their personal greviances at the door and conduct themselves in a professional manner. If any of them believe they are being untreated unfairly they need to take that up with you directly rather than building resentment towards the people they believe are getting preference.

 

I would also advise having this meeting with all of your reports and maybe even a few of your fellow managers. You shouldn't specifically target them as your first move, IMO. I think it's always a good idea to give employees a chance to come around on their own. However, if after getting this message you do not see improvement then it becomes time to meet with them individually and getting them to commit to a plan of action that will result in resolving the conflict.

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My gut reaction to this situation is that I would not conduct a group meeting for the very reason that you mention. It could turn into a brawl. Maybe it would be better to call each person in for an individual meeting with you. I would present the problem to the individual and then ask them how they think it can be resolved. This way you get each individual's side of the story and one person does not out shout another. I think that you have a better chance of getting to the core of the problem doing it this way. Once you have a copilation of all the parties involved you can better assess the best remedy for the problem. Then I would have a meeting with all of the employees and explain that there was this problem and you have determined that this is how it will be resolved and implemented. What do you think about this idea?

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Tell them to get over it or get new jobs. You're running a business, you're not a therapist, you're not a charity, if their fighting is cutting into the bottom line, cut them loose and don't look back.

 

With the job market the way it is, you can replace them in your sleep.

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