High Demand Employees

High Demand Employees

Does your organisation have a small cohort of employees that sap the energy out of you, leaving you mentally exhausted each time you have to interact with them?

Do they seem to take your energy and use it to fuel and feed their own reactions, escalating situations beyond logical comprehension?

American data indicates that approximately 20% of employees in any organisation could be “high demand”.

These are the staff that you will find clogging up the organisation’s informal and formal complaints handling and investigation processes as well as seemingly trying to keep workers compensations claims open and ongoing. Less demanding staff will still have a need to access these processes too but they seem to more readily accept fair outcomes and seek to move forward. It’s almost like high demand employees thrive on the drama and attention of each situation and it is through these workplace mechanisms that they keep the spotlight on themselves, keeping your attention on  them and away from your core business tasks.

High demand staff staunchly believe their reality (highly tainted in emotional distortions) and expect you to believe in them too. They also seem to enjoy remaining in the conflict and escalating it to new levels.

It’s not uncommon to experience these workers as highly defensive, argumentative, irrational and illogical. They confuse and perplex us and then worry us that they will never be appeased even though we have given them more attention and resources than we really care to. Each interface with high demand employees is extremely stressful. They continually attack you personally and blame everyone and everything else but themselves. At some point we realise that this situation is untenable and probably start to wish that the employment relationship would come to an end.

Believe it or not, these staff and these situations can be managed for better outcomes and in a way that can keep your stress levels down. Here are 5 tips to get you started on this process:

1)      Treat every interaction with every staff member as though that employee might be a high demand employee. Set strong professional boundaries from the beginning. Keep yourself alert such that you are not influenced and coerced into lowering your guard.

2)      Remain courteous and professional at all times, resisting the temptation to ‘put them back in their place’ when they attack you personally. Do not respond to the attack but remain focused on the issue at hand.

3)      Only do what is reasonably necessary for you to do. Do not go above and beyond the reasonable expectations of your professional duty.

4)      Focus on the process and not on the drama and diversions high demand employees will demand you address.

5)      Enrol in our new training course: ‘Managing High Demand Employees’ to understand more behind these behaviours and to learn and practice more successful strategies and tips.

Follow this link for more information on our high demand employees course or speak with us today.

You may also be interested in 1-1 coaching, consultation arrangements or mediation services designed specifically for the involvement of high demand employees.

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About the Author

Catherine Gillespie brings a wealth of skill to her clients. With particular expertise in teaching communication and workplace conflict resolution skills, Catherine has made a marked difference to the organisations she has worked with. She empowers teams and managers to adopt constructive styles that support harmony, productivity and progress in the workplace.