Tips for Having Difficult Conversations with Employees

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meet me in my office there's something

we need to discuss hearing those words

can strike dread in the hearts of

employees which is why so many managers

and supervisors are so reluctant to say

them however the ability to have

difficult conversations and to make

those conversations both effective and

productive is an essential skill for any

good manager hello and welcome to HR

over coffee a video series from the

experts at HR 360 where you'll learn how

to effectively hire manage and terminate


today we'll be talking about having

difficult conversations with employees

most of us instinctually avoid

unpleasant situations and conflict

particularly in the workplace where we

spend a large portion of our waking

hours remember though that avoiding a

tough conversation won't make the

problem at hand go away in fact

avoidance often makes the situation

worse for the purpose of today's

discussion we're not talking about

termination meetings but rather

conversations that relate to performance

issues behavioral issues interpersonal

conflicts or corporate news or policies

that are not likely to be well received

such as the announcement that your

company won't be offering raises or

bonuses in cases outside the simple

delivery of bad news you should begin by

evaluating the scope of the problem and

then investigate the facts for example

if an employee is routinely taking

longer than the prescribed time for

lunch it may be the case that he or she

is ill or caring for a child or parent

try your best to determine if they're

outside or mitigating factors if you

can't resolve the issue or have

difficult news to deliver you should

plan your conversation carefully be

sensitive to time and place and most

certainly address things such as

performance and behavioral issues in

private make notes prior to the meeting

so you can remember what to say if you

have an HR department consult with that

team prior to the meeting as well during

the meeting be specific and factual for

example I noticed that you came in after

10 6 times in the last month use I

phrases whenever possible rather than

saying you're always late and it's not

fair to the others in the department try

instead I need you here to be part of

the team for our morning meetings I'm

counting on you to know what's going on

that day these semantic differences

please seem small but they can

absolutely change how the message is


also remember to listen to the employee

either to his or her side of the story

or in the case of unpleasant corporate

news to his or her feelings you may

gather important information that will

help you proceed

end the meeting by working together to

agree on a resolution this might include

a formal performance improvement plan

offering the employee additional

resources and training or in the case of

a personal issue providing access to the

services of an Employee Assistance

Program thank you for joining us today

for HR over coffee for more information

on HR and benefits management including

progressive discipline and termination

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