Confront the employee to discuss the problem (Counselling / Couching Session)
It is important that the meeting takes place in private and in an environment that is comfortable and non-threatening, away from distractions and interruptions.
The employer should begin by holding a discussion with the employee to explain the problem in specific terms. From this conversation, the employee should be able to clearly understand:
. what the problem is
. why it is a problem
. how it impacts on the workplace, and
. why there is a concern.
The employer should discuss the outcomes they wish to achieve from the meeting.
The meeting should be an open discussion and the employees should have an opportunity to have their point of view heard and duly considered. The employer should listen to the explanation of why the problem has occurred or to any other comments the employee makes.
When having this type of meeting, it may be useful in facilitating discussion to refer to recent positive things that the employee has done to show them that you also recognise and appreciate their strengths.
Key points for employers to remember when holding the meeting are to:
And, when discussing shortfalls in any area, it is important to check that the employee:
Jointly devise a solution
Where possible, it is important that a solution is jointly devised with the employee. An employee who has contributed to the solution will be more likely to accept and act on it.
When working out a solution, the employer should:
A clear plan of action should be developed with the employee to implement the solution. This can be in the form of a performance agreement or action plan. A performance agreement or action plan can:
A date should be set for another meeting with the employee to review progress and discuss the employee`s performance against the agreed action plan.
The employer should keep a written record of all discussions relating to underperformance in case further action is required. Generally, it may also be used as evidence if disciplinary action is taken about the matter.
Monitor performance and give feedback
The employer should monitor the employee`s performance and continue to provide feedback and encouragement.
A meeting to review and discuss the employee`s performance should be held even if there is no longer an issue. This enables both parties to acknowledge that the issue has been resolved. The employer should provide both positive and negative feedback to the employee and should work with the employee to ensure that performance improvements are sustained.
More serious action may need to be taken if the employee`s performance does not improve including further counselling, issuing formal warnings and ultimately if the issue cannot be resolved, termination of employment.
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