The past several weeks we have been talking about Employee Counselling – when to do it and why. What hasn’t been discussed is the “how”. In reality when you think about it, the “how” is really what can trip people up.
Let’s start with a quick refresher of the why and when.
Why. The overall goal of employee counselling is to get the employee to improve either their behavior or attitude. Behavior is very broad in that it can encompass work performance, effeciencies, knowledge, etc. We say it is all a behavior because until you speak to the person, you do not know what is happening in their mind, therefore the only way you have to assess tehir performance is through their outward behavior.
When. The sooner the better – if you wait too long the discussion becomes irelevant as many other things have happened since then. Remember you can always have the conversation first and then document later – just don’t forget to document.
The how is where you may feel a little insecure since you want to have a productive conversation without a negative reaction from the person you speaking with. The negative reactions can range from silence, defending their behavior to (worse possible scenario) screaming. If you approach the conversation as just that – a conversation it will help.
Before you start the conversation make sure you are in a quiet place and will be free from interruptions. The more privacy the better, so if you are in your office be sure to close the door. Nothing will make a person more unconfortable than feeling that other people can listen in or hear the talk.
Starting the talk. Tell the person you want to have a discussion about what happened when….ask them their point of view, what they believe worked or didn’t work. How they could improve. Don’t show any papers yet since as soon as show them something in writing they are reading and not listening to your words. By showing an interest first in how they perceived the situation will show them that you are not jumping to conclusion and are interested in their point of view. You can then explain your understanding of events.
Ending the talk. If you realize after talking, you must put it into writing – tell them. Explain the situation was serious enough for you to put it in writing and to get their feedback on how to avoid the same situation in the future.
This does not need to be a painful process however it does need to be productive. Remember the goal of the conversation is to avoid something from happening again while coaching an employee to better performance.