As one of the leading staffing agencies in Northern California, Pacific Staffing knows strong communication skills are critical to running a successful operation. However, when it comes to delivering bad news or engaging in difficult conversations with employees, most managers would rather run the other way.

Whether it’s a talk about below average performance or why someone didn’t get promoted, open lines of communication are a must between managers and staff.

To help you deal with sensitive issues, below are tips to consider:

Be clear about desired outcomes.

Why are you having the conversation? And what do you want the outcome to be? When you pinpoint specific reasons for the conversation – and know ahead of time what you want to achieve through it – then you’ll have a much better chance of a productive discussion.

For example, do you want the employee to apologize, to change a specific behavior or to come to a certain agreement with you? Whatever it is, be clear about outcomes ahead of time.

Think about timing.

Whether you schedule a meeting with your employee ahead of time, or spring the conversation on them unexpectedly is up to you. There are pros and cons to both approaches. A planned meeting could leave them stressed, while a spontaneous one might leave them feeling ambushed. It’s your call what’s best for the particular situation. One thing’s for certain, though – always discuss issues in private.

Don’t beat around the bush. 

When the employee steps into your office, they’re likely feeling pretty anxious. Don’t beat around the bush with small talk. Get right to the point – and be straightforward about what you want to discuss. You are the manager, after all, and you have a right to initiate these kinds of conversations. So don’t be shy.

Listen to your employee and offer reassurance. 

Once you’ve made clear to your employee what you want to discuss, give your employee a chance to voice their opinion on the matter. Some might already be aware of the issue and taking steps to correct it. Others, however, will get defensive. That’s why you need to remain calm and professional at all times and offer reassurance. Let them know you’re “in this together” and you simply want to help.

Offer solutions.

If, for instance, you need to give an employee feedback as to why they didn’t get the raise or promotion, be honest with them. Then let them know the areas they need to improve in – and how to go about doing so – so they can increase their odds of getting promoted in the future.

By planning ahead and keeping your cool during difficult conversations, you can not only reduce your own anxiety, but also achieve a more positive and productive outcome for you and your employee.

About Pacific Staffing

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Northern California, Pacific Staffing helps companies throughout the area find, hire and retain high quality candidates. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more about how we can help you.