It is your duty as a manager or supervisor to keep an eye on staff performance and workplace conduct. Employee performance may occasionally fall short of corporate standards, and you may need to talk to them about it. Although these discussions might be difficult, they can also be a chance for professional advancement.
The reasons you might need to have a difficult conversation with employees, how to conduct these discussions and advice for making these conversations constructive and effective are all covered in this article.
Why it’s important to have difficult conversations with employees?
There are several professional circumstances in which you could need to have a difficult conversation with a worker, including:
- A poor effort
- Employees quarrelling
- Breaking business rules
- A lack of professionalism
- Bad hygiene
How to manage challenging employee talks
Ten steps are provided below on how to have difficult conversations with staff members:
- Plan in advance
Prepare your response in advance of a difficult talk with a worker. Collect any relevant information for sharing at the meeting, including employee statements and corporate policies. To keep on topic and include all the relevant details, you can also write an outline of your important ideas. Consider practising your talk a few times to help you feel more at ease bringing up delicate subjects.
- Gather your courage and take the lead
Managers are hesitant to take part in difficult conversations because they are unsure of how to handle them. Additionally, they worry that the staff would become irate if the debate doesn’t proceed as expected. That should worry us obviously. Some workers dislike hearing that they are performing inadequately or failing.
You’re more likely to feel anxious and unhappy before a talk you’ve classified as “difficult” if you’re preparing for it. Instead, try presenting it in a positive, less binary approach. Keep in mind that you aren’t giving bad advice; rather, you’re just having a helpful dialogue to get things better.
It will alter your perspective and make things simpler for you. The trick is to learn how to deal with them in a way that results in less suffering for both you and the person you’re speaking to.
- Choose the appropriate situation and time
If you single out one worker and start venting to the other team members, the situation will get worse. You need to show empathy and set the scene for a challenging dialogue. It might take place in the conference room, the meeting room, or simply over a cup of coffee informally. You need to create a setting where everyone is at ease and comfortable.
- Restrict your emotions
You should have a fact-based dialogue without any emotional overtones. Feelings or emotions may take over the dialogue and hinder any forward movement.
The meeting must be postponed and rescheduled in that situation. Saying “I’m upset” or, “I thought” will introduce unfavourable emotional elements to the conversation.
Offering the employee the chance to share his or her opinions is also crucial at this time. Practically speaking, it will enliven the discussion and improve employer-employee relations.
- Be attentive to the worker
You should give the employee an opportunity to respond after you’ve explained the purpose of your discussion and laid out your case. This gives you knowledge of the problem’s root cause. Be receptive to their viewpoint, pay attention to what they have to say, and ask for clarification on any points you are unclear on. Other techniques to demonstrate to the worker that you are paying attention include the following:
- To ensure understanding, repeat their statements back to them on your own terms.
- Ask for follow-up inquiries to get further details.
- Make a note
Take a worker who routinely arrives late to work as an example. When you offer them a chance to explain, they can say that they have to drop off three kids at three separate schools every morning, which can signal poor time management. Instead of making assumptions about information that you are unaware of, this helps you better grasp the employee’s circumstances.
- Keep the conversation a private matter
When an employee has a complaint, they typically count on their bosses to keep it confidential. Make sure they recognise, nevertheless, that you cannot entirely promise the same. Depending on what they say, you will be required to either act or communicate with others.
The employee who complained, the employee who objected, and the facts are frequently the three sides of such situations. You must stand back and recognise reality. Depending on the circumstance, you ought to arrange a private discussion.
However, you can think about using a witness who is accustomed to handling difficult situations. In the following point, learn more about this.
- Come up with a solution
If at all possible, HR solutions develop a plan of action for resolving the problem with the employee. Request input from the employee and ideas for practical actions they may take to assist with problem management. Ask the employee to suggest ways to resolve a disagreement, for instance, if they are at odds with a coworker.
For example, you may change the employee’s start time to a half-hour later and decrease their lunch break to a half-hour rather than a full hour so that they can conclude their workday at the same time. In the situation of the tardy employee mentioned above.
You must adhere to any corporate policies about this strategy, including the timing and what should be included. Typically, your strategy should incorporate:
- Person’s name
- The purpose of the plan
- A plan of action with due dates
- When will the plan’s status be reviewed?
- Your name
- Signatures of all parties involved
- Keep a record of the discussion
All talks with employees should be thoroughly recorded in notes as a record of the exchange. By doing this, miscommunications are prevented. A thorough summary of your interaction maintains the material organised and factual rather than depending on memory. This documentation might be included in the employee’s HR file.
- Help the other person in finding a solution
Keep in mind that, as a corporate leader, you are also a coach. It is your responsibility to provide everything your staff needs to be successful.
The talk should leave the other party with something to think about. You can inquire how you can help them or write a compelling recommendation. Your employees despise issues just as much as you do.
Just don’t point out their mistakes to them. Give illustrations of what they should change for the better. Please provide the equipment and resources they need to grow. Offering them choices and a helpful hand can resolve many issues, regaining their respect in the job.
- Keep in touch with the worker and make a follow-up
To see how the employee is digesting the chat, schedule a time to check in with them. You can inquire about how their action plan is doing and find out if they require any further help or resources. Reiterate the value of completing the necessary activities within the allotted time frame while being encouraging and supportive.