Managers should counsel problem employees to the extent that they can and should readily refer them to professional counseling as necessary.
We are not suggesting that managers attempt a full-blown counseling program with the employee, but that management constructively confronts the employee about the problem and attempts to field out more information about what is going on and how the behavior can be changed.
The following are a few employee counseling process guidelines appropriate for managers to follow:
Employee counseling process
1. Talk with the employee: Talk with the employee to specifically define the problem in terms of the behavior that needs to be changed.
2. Focus on behavior: Focus on behavior that the employee can change and that is within the control of the employee.
3. Enlist the employee’s assistance: Enlist the employee’s assistance in determining specific suggestions for changing the behavior in order to create a sense of ownership on the part of the employee for the solution to the problem.
4. Establish a means of monitoring: Jointly establish a means of monitoring and follow-up with the employee to verify compliance.
5. Emphasize the consequences: Emphasize the consequences of not fulfilling the behavior contract-specifically deal with the question of what will happen to the employee. Schedule follow-up meetings with a timetable.
6. Offer encouragement: Offer encouragement and indicate that you support the employee and that you want him or her to do better.
Avoid getting involved in personal off-the-job problems with the employee, and certainly, avoid telling the employee-specific steps he or she should take in his or her personal life.
For example, do not ever tell an employee that he or she should divorce his or her spouse. If the problem rests here, suggest marriage counseling.
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