Managing High Demand Employees

Standing High Demand Employee

Are you unsure why a particular employee seems to be a constant source of irritation to you? Do certain employees seem to be continually brought to your attention because–

a) Of their repeated involvement in conflict situations but no-one’s behaviour in that conflict seems to be overtly inappropriate?

b) They have exhausted and frustrated line managers and every other workplace avenue available to them?

“High Demand” employees constantly create conflict with other employees and when if falls on your shoulders that the situation be resolved, these employees will demand that you or someone else fix their problems – denying their own responsibility for the situation.

Some high demand employees are obvious and some don’t reveal their true colours to you for some time. This is because at first, they either appear charming and very grateful for all you are doing for them, or they appear so believable that they possibly couldn’t be the cause for all the conflict around them.

But inevitably all high demand employees will demand your attention and demand that you fix their problem for them – not once but multiple times. It is not uncommon that with each situation, they become more intense, expect more of you and become more critical of you.

Early recognition of a pattern of behaviour is beneficial in seeking support, advice and professional services. Sometimes it can be difficult to recognise this pattern of behaviour because a high demand employee can be quite skilful in manipulating different people at different times and without the sharing of this information, each situation tends to be viewed in isolation.

Interacting with high demand employees can be a very stressful experience that can lead to some damaging consequences for you and the organisation if not managed within a structured approach.

The best way to manage a high demand employee is to recognise patterns of behaviour early and respond to them in an empathetic and professional but distant or removed manner. Usual early conflict resolution interventions can appear to be working but generally will be short lived. If you suspect that one or more of the parties to a conflict or complaint are high demand employees, a professional external mediator or investigator should be engaged every time to provide a very specific and skilled service. This will ensure that not only are the best outcomes obtained but the process has been externalised removing any internal managers as targets of blame.

In conjunction, managers should be trained via 1-1 coaching or group training to deliver the recommendations determined from the mediation or investigation in respect of managing these types of employees and to protect others from the damage that can be inflicted by a high demand employee to unsuspecting colleagues.

At Workplace Conflict Resolution, we specialise in providing the following services targeted specifically in managing high demand employees:


Ensure your business is meeting its obligations and enjoys the benefits of operating a harmonious and productive workplace.

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