When you started your business, what did you have in mind? Freedom? Adventure? A six-figure income?

I’m guessing all of the above. What you likely didn’t imagine were the challenges that come along with managing people – some of them seem quite ridiculous. Over the years, I have seen a whole lot of scenarios that I could never have imagined, let alone pictured myself dealing with them. And I’ve helped clients through many of these challenges as well.

Including, from time to time, employees who dress poorly or display subpar personal hygiene.

Sloppy shirts, wrinkled pants, messy hair and the seeming inability to shower… you get the point!

As a manager, oftentimes the first question that pops into your mind is “should I say something?” It’s an awkward situation – because naturally you don’t want to be offensive to your employee. So here’s what you need to know.

  1. The problem won’t go away. It would be great if these types of problems would resolve themselves… but they never do. If an employee shows up once looking like he just crawled out of bed, he’s going to do so again. And again. It might not happen every day, but it will continue to happen. Don’t kid yourself – these problems don’t fix themselves.

  2. Don’t overthink it. While the situation is awkward, don’t dwell on it. Whether it’s poor hygiene or sloppy dress, treat the issue like any other problem. Explain to the employee what is expected and hold him or her accountable.

  3. In many cases, the employee is genuinely unaware of the problem. It may be obvious to you, and to everyone else in the room, but many times the employee has no idea anything is wrong. Simply discuss the problem clearly and professionally – most of the time, that’s all it takes!

  4. If the problem persists despite your intervention, you’ll likely need to let the employee go. It may seem silly to fire an employee over his inability to iron his pants, but such as issue is usually part of a larger problem. It shows a lack of discipline, a lack of self-respect, a disregard for co-workers, and a willingness to ignore your instructions. Part ways before the problem gets worse.

If you own a business for long enough, I promise you that you’ll encounter this type of problem. Don’t ignore the problem, because it will only get worse.