Before you start any form of dialogue, you must ascertain how serious the problem is. If an employee has not delivered a piece of work for a group project or there’s a potential bullying situation, this goes beyond an individual not being a team player. Instead, you should deal with this accordingly via the necessary disciplinary procedures.
However, if someone is generally doing their job but sometimes demonstrates challenging behaviour when working in a group – or just isn’t fully integrated into the company (for example, they consistently refuse to take part in team events) – you can take a softer, more understanding approach.
Talk to the employee
Hold an informal discussion with the employee in question. Do not be accusatory, instead demonstrate that you are happy with their overall performance but are aware of a few instances when they could have been more considerate of their team members. Talk the employee through these scenarios, explaining alternative ways that they could approach these situations in the future.
Also, when appropriate, bring other affected employees into the meeting and work together to resolve the problem.
It’s also vital that you use this meeting to listen. The individual may be going through issues (at work or at home) that mean they are withholding when in a team situation. If there are any problems, ask how you can support them. You may find it useful to turn these into regular 1-2-1s whereby you can continually check in to see how they’re doing.
Know when to do nothing
It may be that the person in question is performing their job to a good standard but hasn’t built up a solid relationship with their colleagues. Whilst you should do everything that you can to encourage this, it’s also important to recognise that this isn’t something you can force.
Provided that the necessary work is getting done, and no one is being negatively impacted, sometimes you should just appreciate the employee for the strengths they bring and leave it that.
Of course, if a person is generally unhappy in their role, and you are unable to help them – there will be times when it’s best for all parties involved that you suggest they seek employment elsewhere.
Provide the necessary support
If you have uncovered a particular reason why the employee is struggling in a team environment, take the necessary steps to assist them.
If they require a quiet environment to get certain tasks done, find an alternative area in the office where they could work (or consider introducing hybrid working). If they struggle in social situations, investigate training programmes that will help them boost their confidence. If they are stressed out, explore ways that you can make their workload more manageable.
By helping navigate any hurdles, you will benefit the general well-being of the individual and have a positive impact on your business.
Consistently reward your team
Give your team a boost by regularly hosting events that encourage everyone to get together in an environment where they don’t have to worry about work. These events should be open to all team members, but you should not force anyone to attend.
The purpose of these events is to give continual opportunities to team members who are on the periphery, but just need a little encouragement to embrace their colleagues and your company culture.
Thanks for reading
So, there you have it, what to do if an employee isn’t a team player.
As a business owner, it’s your duty to do everything you can to ensure an employee thrives in your working environment, and where possible becomes a team player. Follow the tips outlined in this post to give yourself the best chance of achieving this.