9 Tips to Proper Employee Counseling

by Extreme John on November 25, 2009

Employee Counseling Tips

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

Employee Counseling Tips

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.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Alan
Twitter:

Thanks for the post. I don’t have a big enough business yet to worry about this but the process you have outlined is very important. It’s really important to stay consistent and apply the rules equally to all employees. Also, the last point about not holding grudges is very important…I can’t tell you how many companies I have worked for in the past where the boss and the employee destroyed their working relationship because neither can move on….shit happens, fix it and move on.

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Extreme John
Twitter:

@Alan @ Glass Pipes, exactly. You see that a lot in younger associates that get angry and take something work related personal. Craziness.

Reply

Surender Sharma
Twitter:

Hi John,
Every business need employees but main thing is to cater their brain and thoughts at one place.It’s a difficult these days.But all things can be handled by with seminars and counseling.It works well for both employer and employee.
Your idea is really wonderful and more informative for this.
.-= Surender Sharma´s last blog ..7 Ways To Get More Comments On Your Blog =-.

Reply

Extreme John
Twitter:

@Surender Sharma, thank you I appreciate you stopping by and contributing to this post, I know it’s not for everyone but for those managers that can learn from it I hope they do.

Reply

James Moralde
Twitter:

I’ve worked in a bank for more than 10 years prior to my current job and I know that the people down at HR knew about these 9 points. However, I can not say that they adhere to these guidelines strictly. Well, they’re only human after all. What I mean is that I’ve noticed that they, or at least most of them, blatantly disregarded tip #2. When one gets to work in a closesly knit environment like the bank i worked for previously, the HR people sometimes lose that neutrality which is badly needed in their office to the point that some unscrupulous co-workers who have selfish agendas of their own (and who have intentionally developed friendly relations with them) can manipulate them into believing anything they say especially when it comes to judging their fellow employees. Thus, when a counseling session comes, other points gets sacrificed like professionalism, sticking to facts, etc.

Hey, I’m not that naughty, but I did get my share of counseling there. :)
.-= James Moralde´s last blog ..Open_Basedir Restriction In Effect =-.

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Keith

When you call an employee out in front of other employees, that employee gets resentful, or at least I do and did. Lack of confidentiality is unproductive, unprofessional, ineffective and counter-productive. After that tirade by my boss, I have stopped covering other peoples asses or handling their problems. I prefer to cover my own now. I would not feel this way had ANY common sense or professional courtesy been utilized that day. The sad thing is that the other employees tell me that this place goes straight to hell when I am not here. So apparently the tirade was even more counter-productive than many of his others.

Great advice, John. If not for my comment, I might have recommended it to my boss.
.-= Keith@Norman Rockwell Art´s last blog ..Nov 22, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute, is home to Norman Rockwell painting =-.

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Extreme John
Twitter:

@Keith@Norman Rockwell Art, haha would you rather me delete your comment so you can point him in the right direction and correct his wrongs?

It sucks that he put you through something like that.

Reply

Keith

@Extreme John, Y’know, I love the guy, but I don’t always like him. I don’t even know if he is aware that he upsets me so much sometimes.

Leave the comment. He probably wouldn’t even know who it referred to.
.-= Keith@Norman Rockwell Art´s last blog ..Nov 29, Santa’s Workshop by Norman Rockwell from 12/14/1922 Clintonville Gazette =-.

Reply

eSINess

@Keith@Norman Rockwell Art,

Speaking of that. Calling someone out has hurt me too. Well, I’ve actually broken a few of these rules. There’s a lot of sensitive people in this world. My biggest adjustment would probably have to be learning that everyone is not like I am. A good punch in the stomach is good for some people, but a ticking time bomb for others. From I see down the line of Jb’s list is a consistency in making sure opinions and feelings(our own and the employee) stay out the door. That can sometimes be harder said than done.

Reply

randy bragg

O John you are more then just a crazy man with a point, your content has more value then just being a Glen Beck fan. :p I need a product to sell John, you have anything you want to sell on my site? Have a great Thanksgiving John…..From one soldier boy from Belgium…….SSG Bragg says good day and God bless….
.-= randy bragg´s last blog ..A New World Order? =-.

Reply

electric heating uk

:high: Most employers who offer such services will hand out brochures to keep their employees informed. I wouldn’t take offense to it unless you feel that maybe your supervisor picked up on something that maybe you’re not aware of. If this is the case, take the brochure and gesture as a kind way of knowing someone cares.

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James

Thanks John.. yes, I agree with your points and even could add one more about emotion. Keep emotion out and keep it work related and based on facts, best route to go. That way people can’t take it take personal and that you’re only “doing your job” per say.

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