Having that difficult conversation with an employee

When you practice human resource, you will find yourself in situations where you must have an uncomfortable conversation with a staff; whether personal or work related.

It may during a separation process or just when you need to have a matter addressed that no one seems to want to confront. So how do you have have that uncomfortable conversation without making someone feel disrespected or undermined? Say, bad breath or body odour problem, without sounding mean and disrespectful?

First, you must get your intentions for that conversation right i.e. you mean to help them rather than disrespect them. Call the person aside and tell them what the issue is and find out their thoughts on the matter. Remember that you have no control over how the employee will respond to this so be prepared. If they want cry about it, give them time but don’t let tears shift your focus from the real problem. If they get defensive, you must remain firm. Some people require a little push in order to change while others require a firm hand. You can recommend reasonable solutions to the problem. You also need to give timelines with which you expect improvement.

It is very embarrassing when something personal about you is addressed in front of everyone, it would actually lower your self esteem tremendously. Some bosses however choose to do this so they can intimidate the employee, it’s not right. What is most important to know is that ignoring the problem and hoping that it will go away on its own is not the solution. Sometimes, you must take the bull by its horns.

So next time you find yourself on that tight spot, deal with it like a pro! Also note that sometimes, it’s never what you say that makes the difference but how you say it. Be gentle.

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