Why Do My Employees Feel Picked On?

I try to handle employee problems face-to-face and one-on-one. That’s what I was always taught — praise in public, punish in private. But the problem with this is that each of my employees feels singled out for their bad behavior. In their eyes, their coworkers never “get in trouble.” No one is getting in real trouble — no suspensions or terminations. Just things like, “Here are the things you need to improve.” I almost feel like a sticker chart where everyone can see everyone else’s progress would work, but I know I can’t do that. What do I do so my employees don’t feel picked on?


To read my answer, hop over to Comstock’s by clicking here: Why Do My Employees Feel Picked On?

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6 thoughts on “Why Do My Employees Feel Picked On?

  1. They may also assume no one else is getting constructive criticism because they dont perceive a change in behavior with others.

    1. Yes, I was thinking about that. What happens if you tell someone “here are things that need to improve” and those things DON’T improve?

  2. I would change one thing in the messaging. Instead of ‘punish in private”, “criticize in private.” Not every criticism is punishment.

  3. No one likes to be criticized as there’s an unconscious reaction to feeling slighted and in today’s overly anxious internalism, the approach and wording are the keys to making this a non-negative experience for the person getting the “review”. No one is as perfect as they believe themselves to be.

  4. They feel picked on because you’re doing it too much, I guarantee it. Most normal people can take constructive criticism – especially if it’s legitimate and relevant to their jobs. It’s not that you’re wagging your finger in private and praising in public, but that you’re wagging your finger too much -so consider:

    1.) Your attempts to address shortcomings are clearly not effective because it keeps coming up all the time
    2.) Your attempts to address shortcomings are petty and people feel overly criticized for things that are not, in your own words, rising to the level of actually disciplining an employee.

    So therefore your asides are not reasonable, as they are frequent, minor, and frustrating. Re-evaluate what you consider to be a problem and dial that crap back.

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