Your Guide to Dealing with Non-Conforming Employee Behavior

Every organization has its own work ethic and distinct culture. While certain behaviors might be frowned upon at one place, it might be glossed over at another. However, all organizations work on certain basic norms of employee behavior. Needless to say, these need to be emphasized and enforced to ensure conformity.

Non-conformity leads to disruption in functioning of the organization, leading to dip in individual as well as collective productivity. One needs to assess employees on the Behavioral Observation Scale regularly and take steps to ensure acceptable behavior.

Here is a guide to deal with non-conforming employee behavior:

  1. Set clear rules. It is important to set rules at the very beginning, in black and white. That is to say, right at the hiring stage. Let the onus be on the candidate to accept the offer knowing the rules of the organization.
  2. Spell out requirements and expectations. As stated, every organization has its own needs and expectations. Spell these out to the employees so that they know what is acceptable and what is not.
  3. Observe and document. You need to constantly monitor and check for conformity on part of employees and keep track of any errant behavior. This way the management comes to know who are the employees deviating from acceptable behavior and is aware of what to expect.
  4. Monitor behavior. Keeping strict eye on employees with a history of deviant behavior is a way to deal with this. Rewarding good behavior is another way of making it clear that there is no room for erring employees.
  5. Get to the core. Continued non-conformity in spite of warning from the organization is a cause of worry. The management needs to get to the core of the problem. It might be due to something that is easily dealt with and not let the situation fester into something unmanageable.
  6. Counsel the errant employees. It is advisable to initiate talks via Human Resources and try counseling employees first. Talking and reaching out on part of the organization conveys a willingness to understand and empathize with the employees. This gives them the feeling that the management is willing to meet them halfway.
  7. Take action. After all of these steps if there is no improvement in the Behavioral Observation Scale then concrete action needs to be initiated. This is not only to enforce company rules but also to send a clear message to the rest of the employees that unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated. The fact that everyone needs to follow certain norms of behavior under every circumstance has to be understood for future smooth working of the organization.
  8. Higher authority intervention. It is essential to keep higher authorities in the know as to how things work out. Employee ire tends to focus on the HR arm and can lead to unpleasant outcomes. It is essential that the errant knows that management stands together.

These guidelines will help in dealing with unacceptable employee behavior. Conveying the impression that everyone gains when they work in tandem, leads to a positive outcome.


Non-conforming employee behavior is something that requires strict action on the part of an organization. Steps such as setting clear-cut guidelines, constantly monitoring employee behavior, counseling the employees whose behavior is going the wrong way, trying to understand the core problem, and so on, are necessary to maintain organizational decorum.  

Reshali Balasubramaniam

Head of HR, HR Counselor and adviser at and EFutureTech Systems. Submit your resume online and be contacted by prospective employers.

company culture, Development, Employees