How to Have a Difficult Conversation with an Employee

It’s never easy to have a difficult conversation in the office, especially if you’re deathly afraid of confrontation. However, it’s impossible to manage a company and not have to approach an employee at some point about their behaviour, insubordination, or work quality, and sometimes even terminate them. Brushing the issue under the rug or simply ignoring it can make the situation worse and negatively affect the workplace, productivity, and other employees. There are several different types of difficult conversations that you might need to have at some point, including policy breaches, coworker complaints, dress code violations, and even workstation cleanliness. As a manager or supervisor, it’s important to know the proper way to handle these conversations, or it could do more harm than good.

Prepare Yourself
Before deciding to have the conversation, get prepared by asking what the behaviour is that’s causing the problem, and what outcome from the behaviour is impacting you, the team, the environment, etc. You need to have an understanding yourself before providing clarity to someone else about the issue. This will also keep the focus on the issue and avoid derailing the conversation.

Choose an Appropriate Location
Before entering the conversation or even calling for a meeting with the individual, decide where it will be held. Finding the right location will set the tone of the meeting. Your office is usually the best place, but depending on your company culture, it might ease the tension if you talk over a cup of coffee or lunch at a food court in the building or nearby; this can lessen the chances of the employee feeling embarrassed. However, if it’s a more formal conversation, your office, a conference room, or a boardroom is probably the most appropriate place.

Leave Your Emotions at the Door
When starting the conversation, be straightforward and tell the individual what the purpose of the meeting is. Be sure to not get caught up in your emotions; keep your feelings in check and don’t let them drive the conversation. Focus on the facts and be careful not to say things like, “I feel disappointed,” which will only add biased emotional elements. It also helps to be aware of your preconceived notions about the situation and the person involved, so make sure to leave that at the door as well.

Be Open and Listen
Be calm and fair during the discussion. Don’t project anger or judgment because that may result in the employee getting defensive and things might get heated. Find a balance between polite and firm; be caring but remain professional. It’s important to be open to hearing what the other person has to say. Be mindful and treat them with respect, even if you completely disagree with them.

Brainstorm
It’s important that you brainstorm solutions during the meeting. Ask the employee in question what they think will work. Out of their ideas or suggestions, build on something you like. Asking for their point of view can create a safe atmosphere and encourage them to engage.

Always Follow Up
Following up after the conversation is a good way to smooth over the relationship between you and your employee. It’s also a good way to check up on their progress if there are any changes they need to make. Don’t micromanage, but keep track of how they’re doing, for as long as you think is necessary. If progress needs to be made, there is a possibility they might backslide.

Putting off a difficult conversation will only do more damage to your business. Holding off on speaking to an employee about their performance or attitude won’t help productivity and might even affect the rest of your team. Practice these tips and prepare your points so that you can mentally prepare and be more effective, confident, and comfortable with having difficult conversations. That way, you can get everyone on your team working together and at their highest potential.

 

Helen Jacob | Staff Writer

Employee Selection Strategies

Employee selection is one of HR’s strategic roles and key performance indicators. It involves manpower forecasting, staffing and retention activities. By planning, recruiters collaborate with hiring managers in predicting and anticipating the demand for personnel. This is a pro-active approach to ensure there is adequate supply of highly qualified candidates suited to fill in current and future vacancies. Human resources and requisitioning department heads identify and justify the need for new hires. Consequently they define job specifics, set parameters and allocate budget. As an executory body, HR is well-trained in this field. To achieve their goals they employ appropriate selection systems as well as standardized policies and procedures that are necessary for delivering the best prospects.

Below are some employee selection strategies, most admired firms adapt to ensure success in hiring the best candidates.

  • By putting in place effective recruitment initiatives, organizations will be able to serve job openings at any given time. Sources and availabilities of talents possessing the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) necessary to perform the most critical and technical tasks, will vary depending on Top Management’s support and how a particular company adjusts to changing technological trends. Great hiring entails significant operating expenses and for some, sizeable investments in infrastructure.
  • Create an employment brand. Do you provide competitive compensation and benefits package? Is your company in the top echelon of corporations? Have you been operating for over a decade or more? Do you take care of your employees? These are just some of the many questions applicants consider before joining any organization. If your answer is yes to all questions then there’s a big probability that you will be able to find the perfect match. Make your company the employer of choice. This way, you will be able to attract topnotch individuals to come and join your firm. As a result, you will have a pool of well-qualified candidates to select from as well as more negotiating power to ensure that you’ll take in the cream of the crop that best suits your budget.
  • In Canada, the job market is very competitive as it has a huge blend of talents, coming from a variety of cultural backgrounds, and skills sets. Therefore, HR must have more options expanding and improving its selection schemes, so that it can provide better impact to the organization. Efforts must be made to exhaust and optimize all recruitment channels and sources by deploying computerized screening and electronic database management systems like Taleo.
  • A candidate may have all the skills and experience required to be successful on the job, but a recruiter must confirm that they have the proper references. Conducting a comprehensive background investigation validates the credibility of a recruit. Through this process, a company can certify their credentials. Resumes are unfortunately often manipulated. As a consequence, feedback from employers matters more and more. Be vigilant in doing reference checks, it should be a direct supervisor of the candidate that you are speaking to since colleagues can be friends with an overly emotional attachment to the prospect.
  • In some countries, checking the candidate’s background is not limited to just authenticating work performance, attitude or contributions with past employers. It extends to knowing how the person relates to the community. This may require them to undergo drug testing, or other tests to comprehensively assess their character before placement.
  • Do not limit yourself to interviewing candidates using only the “generic” interview questions. Take time to develop a unique and well-structured one to assess competencies to a greater extent. Most applicants, because they’ve been applying to so many jobs, are used to answering the standard questions, and many simply say the answers hiring managers want to hear. To really target the person that’s right for the job, perform an extensive screening. For example, if you are looking for a sales personnel, give him actual sales simulation exercises, and see how he’ll be able to use his expertise in actual scenarios.

The list could go on and on, but one thing is for sure, there is always risk attached to hiring. Even if you have selected “the best of the best”, organizational fitness still matters. Install an on-the-job trial to be sure that you’ll only choose the right fit before fully offering the job. If your first choice fails, try the second one. That’s why it’s always necessary to have a backup. Try to have at least three shortlisted candidates on your list for any position.
Adapting best practices in your process will surely influence the company’s bottom line in a meaningful way. Remember, through effective selection, organizations will have repeat customers, increased revenue, a more engaged workforce, sustained job performance, lower turnover, and much more.

 

M G Beltran | DBPC Blog