Archive for the ‘Human Resource Professionals’ Category

Sooner or later, we all face an angry employee as a reaction to termination, demotion, job performance, etc.  It is up to managers to defuse the situation, but how?

1) Stay calm.  Keep your tone of voice and volume in check.

2) Watch your nonverbal signs.  Make sure your body language is not confrontational (hands on hips), dismissive (eyes rolling), or defensive (arms crossed).  Avoid physical contact, even if it’s meant to be reassuring.

3) Be respectful.  Avoid embarrassing or calling out the employee.  Do not belittle.

4)  Allow the employee to talk.  Give the employee a chance to tell their side of the story.

5)  Use active listening.  Repeat back what the employee said on key issues, but in your own words.

6)  Retain control of the conversation.  End the meeting if the employee’s agitation is growing.  Inform him/her that you want to re-schedule the meeting after a brief cooling-off period.


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As an HR professional, your work often connects intimately with employees’ personal lives.  Sometimes, you feel like an in-house counseling service.

The best strategy:  show concern for employees’ personal problems, but don’t get involved in the drama.  To walk that fine line, follow these tips when having those conversations with employees when they start getting personal:

1.  Determine why the employee is bringing this problem to your department.  Let’s say an employee is having difficulty with their step-children.  You ask “Is there anything I can do?”  The employee then thinks that perhaps if they could leave from work one hour earlier to be at home when the children get home would help.  Lesson:  don’t guess at employees’ needs.  Ask them.

2.  Set a time limit.  It’s okay to advise the employee you only have a few minutes.  Lesson:  If it is appropriate to do so in discussing employee’s personal lives, you can refer them to other resources including an Employee Assistance Program.

3.  Avoid “if I were you statements.  When you tell employees how to handle their personal affairs, you risk becoming too embroiled in the saga, not to mention the legal ramifications.

4.  Don’t get too personal yourself.  Sharing your stories and sins with employees only leads to office talk and the whole organization learns about your personal life.


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