It’s been a little while since I posted any type of business tips here on Extreme John which is complete crap on my part because I get more requests for business tips than I do any other kind of content request. If this is your first time here you might want to check out my most recent business related posts, “10 Reasons You Suck as an Employee” and “10 Tips to Hiring Employees that Don’t Suck“, both posts made for some very interesting comments.
I recently received a request via email exxxxj(at)gmail[dot]com from a reader that wanted to know a few tips on proper employee counceling, this can be somewhat of a gray area because every business has it’s own best practices. Chances are you would find these same tips in any large retail corporation like Home Depot or Wal-Mart, however these tips are excellent tips for small business owners to follow as a “best practices” for handling employee issues.
9 Tips to Proper Employee Counseling
1. Do Your Homework
The single most important part of properly counseling an associate is having your facts straight, take the extra time to review video or go through time cards and make copies of your findings, having them handily ready during the counseling process makes it easier to get results from the counseling session.
Another important factor in doing your homework prior to actually doing the counseling is that you don’t run the risk of counseling an associate that doesn’t deserve to be counseled.
2. Don’t believe everything you hear
It’s always best to keep things professional during the homework phase of the counseling process, don’t discuss employee issues with other employees unless they are employees that have something to do with the actual situation at hand. Interviewing employees in regards to other employee issues is tricky business, don’t believe everything you hear and keep in mind that you can re-interview someone you already interviewed. Doing so might expose inconsistencies that aid in the homework process.
3. Stick to the facts
When it comes to counseling notices or growing employee’s through the counseling process it is important to keep in mind that your opinion DOES NOT MATTER. Keep all opinions out of the counseling notice as well as the conversation during the actual counseling process, this is not about your opinion, it is about the actual issue at hand.
4. Document It
There should be phases to every documentation process in order to give every associate the same fair chance at succeeding, this means that with each counseling session a new phase should be entered. For more information about counseling phases please read “3 Phase Employee Counseling Process“.
5. Setup a Gameplan
One of the most important parts of properly counseling an employee and setting them in the right path is to provide a gameplan for the associate moving forward. Let’s assume that you are counseling Mary, an associate that has been late to work for her two previously scheduled shifts, a gameplan might look something like this:
Mary’s time and attendance will be monitored over the next 60 days to ensure that Mary follows her scheduled shift, if Mary has any more “No Call No Shows” Mary will be subject to further written documentation.
This would of course be the scenario if this was the first time Mary ever had an issue.
6. Keep it Professional
A counseling notice is a training tool for managers to use in addressing any business related issues, a counseling notice has nothing to do with your personal views on the subject or your personal views of the employee. In addition to keeping it professional and free of personal views it is also important to keep your counseling environment professional as well, no cell phones in the room, no interuptions from other employees, friends, or customers.
7. Have a Witness
When it comes time to administer the counseling notice you should have a witness present in the room, the witness should not be an associate of equal position to the associate being counseled, anyone would find that demeaning. Having a witness ensures that there are no “he said, she said” issues and it also reduces the chances of a sexual discrimination claim or anything along those lines.
8. Keep it Confidential
No one likes to be told they aren’t dong a good job and it’s safe to assume that most people don’t want to feel like failures or feel as if everyone knows their business, keep the counseling confidential and ensure the associate that you have no intention on making it knowledge for everyone.
9. Move Past it
If you properly counseled the associate and stuck to the facts and some of the very basic best practices for counseling an employee than you should feel confident that the situation is resolved. Don’t hold counseling notices or sessions over your employees head, at the close of the counseling session reassure the associate that your moving forward and you hope they do the same. There is no sense on holding grudges, whats done is done.
Here on Extreme John we have a pretty good community that brings a lot of people together, many who are very intelligent and focused on running a good business with a solid core set of rules. Take a moment to leave a comment and share any additional tips that you might have, you would be surprised how many business owners your tips can help.
If you enjoy business blogs or business related blog posts aimed at small business owners please consider taking a moment to subsribe to my rss feed or follow me on Twitter @extremejohn , I connect with my readers (as you can see).
Oh yeah if your on Facebook connect with me through my Facebook Fan Page, I appreciate your connection.