How to Have Difficult Conversations with Staff
Written by Geoff Newman on 5/13/2010
Tough times lead to tough conversations within a working environment. HR manager’s job gets tough while dealing with negative and difficult conversations with employees. It is the duty of HR to resolve employee’s issues and turn around a difficult conversation into a constructive and positive one. This type of approach helps to resolve issues concerning employees and move forward in a positive way.
1. It is necessary to establish responsibilities governing the employees. What you have to do is listen to employees’ problems and understand where they are coming from, but at the same time acknowledge the fact that you are not responsible for employees’ problems and if they want to change things it is their responsibility. Your responsibility is to converse in a constructive way and let them know what can be offered to fulfil their requirements. The key is to keep the conversation constructive and positive.
2. After acknowledging what is needed and required and by whom, then try to talk in a clear and positive manner rather then being rude and negative. This way, negativity can be kept out, and positive solutions can be adhered. State everything clearly and clarify any sort of misunderstanding beforehand to avoid disruptive conversations.
3. Try to explore previous situations, if any, that an employee ever faced. It is your responsibility to gather information while conversing, regarding: an employee’s experience in a particular situation, their perspective to deal with a certain type of situation and whether they are good enough or there is someone else who could deal with such a situation. The overall conversation should be resourceful and full of information.
4. Your duty is to make sure that the overall climate remains optimistic. That is, if an individual does not believe that the situation will improve, you have to make sure that he or she gains a certain amount of hope that it will improve somehow. Try to be positive during the whole conversation and focus on their skills and abilities that could help to improve a situation. Even if you yourself are not fully satisfied, keep your conversation positive and give them examples to clarify the whole issue.
5. Small actions can be agreed upon relatively easily and the individual will be aware of what they have to offer and what they want to achieve. They will also be able to identify the most important step to be taken first. Instead of trying to complete a list of actions, focus should be on small actions first to start the process readily.
6. To turn conversations full of negative emotions and overstated demands into positive and constructive ones, be in regular contact, and support employees continuously. Have follow up conversations and ask them what is happening, what their input is, and what they think could be improved regarding a certain situation. This way you can easily choose the next step that an individual should follow without thinking negatively, but rather in a constructive and good manner.