This month we've been focused on dealing with employee issues. We've discussed creating an Employee Notification Form, being aware of your own reaction to the issue, and looking for the root cause of the problem. The final step is to create a solution that lasts.
Often times, creating a solution is not an interactive activity with the employee, but rather a lecture. This leads to solutions that are not long lasting. Here are a few tips to help you create a long lasting solution:
- The Solution Needs to Include Clear Action Steps - Too often meetings to deal with employee issues end with a generic, "I'll try harder" or "I won't be late again". While you want that result, a true solution is focused on action steps that eliminate the root problem. Your employee should leave the meeting with a clear set of actions they need to take. If a generic solution is given, be assertive and ask questions to uncover the actions steps they need to take.
- You Should Provide Insight not the Solution - If you want your employee to take ownership of the issue, your role is to guide them to a solution. It's tempting and might be faster to tell them what they need to do, but you should focus on empowering the employee to create a solution. This not only helps with the buy-in that they have now, but it will also help them develop problem-solving skills.
- Ask what Training and or Help They Need from You - Sometimes the solution isn't just about taking action, but the lack of knowledge or a skill set that needs to be developed. You can and should be clear on what action steps need to be taken, but if the issue is important you might also need to put resources toward developing the employee's skill set.
- Get a Signature - Having the employee sign the plan is good for documentation, but it also sends a strong message that this is serious.
- Follow Up is a Must - Chances are the steps to solving the issue are not a one and done situation. If you expect perfection, you are setting your employee and business up for failure. Instead, focus on progress and milestones. You're not going from 0 to 60 overnight. The timing in between milestones depends on the importance of the issue, but could even be daily check-ins. The follow up should continue until you are convinced that the new habit is established. A good way to check this is to slow down the frequency of check-ins instead of stopping all at once.