As an employer, it is your responsibility to maintain open and honest communication with your employees. However, this is not always easy. Although it can be difficult to have tough conversations with your workers, avoiding these interactions can make the situation worse in the long-term. Failure to approach a troubling situation can often lead to a toxic work environment and reduced productivity. It is important for employers to learn the best way to handle difficult conversations with employees and how to use resources like outsourced HR consulting to alleviate some tougher communication issues.
1. Set Up a Face-to-Face Meeting
One of the best ways to get your point across to an employee is by talking to him or her face-to-face. Scheduling a private meeting does not have to be an intimidating experience for either party. In reality, the meeting can be as casual as a chat over coffee. You may also want to tell the employee upfront what the purpose of the meeting is to help ease any fears. Be sure to be discreet about the meeting and approach the employee in a way that is open and friendly.
2. Discuss Behavioral Consequences
Speaking to an employee about behavioral issues in the workplace can make you feel like you are talking down to the person. It is important to approach such delicate topics in a way that shows respect while still asserting authority. When discussing behavioral issues, talk about how certain behaviors can impact not only the workplace as a whole, but also how it affects each member of the team. Maybe certain behaviors are negatively impacting production or lengthening projects that should have been already completed. Bring up these topics to show what repercussions poor behavior can have.
3. Ensure that Conversion is Two-Way
When having a tough conversation with employees, you want to ensure that you are not lecturing the employee. Instead, you want to engage in a two-way conversation where both parties are getting adequate chances to talk without interruption. Start by talking about the problem and why it has become a serious issue. Then allow the employee to talk about why the incident is occurring. Both parties can then share their thoughts about the best ways to solve the problem. It can sometimes be helpful to bring a third party into the situation, even if it is just to act as a witness.
4. Pre-Plan Your Talking Points
It can be difficult to remember all of the things you want to say when you are in the heat of the moment. You may forget to talk to your employee about some important matters or the conversation may turn in a way you do not expect. To help keep your conversation on task, try to structure out your meeting beforehand. Write down important talking points and any key information that you would like to discuss. Be sure to leave sufficient room in your plan to ensure that your employee has the chance to say his or her peace.
Navigating Tough Conversations
There are many scenarios which may require the need for a tough conversation between an employer and employee. For example, office gossip can quickly create a hostile work environment, especially when one or several select workers are targeted. In this scenario, you may want to set up a meeting with each person involved in the gossiping and discuss the problem and the effects it is having. You may want to talk about how the gossip is reducing work productivity and affecting employee morale.
Performance issues can also cause major issues in the workplace. If you have an employee who is simply not pulling her or her weight, it could be affecting the whole team. With bigger workloads, other members of the team are forced to work harder while one employee has it easy. This can quickly result in feelings of resentment. If this occurs, it is best to schedule a private meeting with the employee who is having performance issues. Talk to him or her about how their low performance is affecting the workplace and the short-term and long-term consequences it could have. Be sure to allow the employee time to talk about why there are performance issues. Outsourced HR consulting can assist with this difficult process.
Seeking Outsourced HR Consulting Services
In some instances, even the best communication techniques are not enough. When this happens, many employers rely on outside help to remedy the problem. Outsourced HR consulting services can help alleviate the various struggles associated with having tough conversations with employees. When these conversations are successful, employers can better maintain a healthier, friendlier, and more active workplace environment where employees feel comfortable. To learn more about outsourced HR consulting services or to speak to a HR professional about how they can help your organization, contact Smart HR today.