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Counseling Employees

What to do with problem employees.

counseling employees
What to do when counseling isn't working

Counseling Employees

Why you MUST counsel and, possibly, terminate a problem employee


The difficulties that come with a problem employee may seem easily corrected by termination. However, if you believe the employee's performance can be altered, counseling employees is an intermediate step before firing.

Counseling employees takes a strong attitude and a plan of action. Your plan of action must effectively alter your employee's behavior so their work performance improves.

Too often, however, employers mistake disciplinary action as disciplinary counseling. Simply citing your employee with a letter of reprimand may improve your employee's work performance, but often it won't have a lasting effect. This hinders your business as it places a need for further disciplinary action later. By fixing the problem the first time, your problem employee's behavior may improve.

Dignity and Discipline when Counseling Employees

Perhaps one of the most important issues when disciplining your employees is saving their dignity, so when they are a rehabilitated employee, they will still have a sense of pride about working for your business.

Discipline should be discreet. You should avoid any discipline that embarrasses your employee, especially in front of other employees.

Here's your purpose as a manager.

You should motivate your problem employees so their work performance improves.

Counseling Employees: An Effective Plan of Action

First, you must ensure that your employee knows what the problem is. This is where a letter of reprimand may come in handy, however, it shouldn't end here. Your letter should detail exactly what happened and why this was against the rules, and it should set up a time for the employee to meet with you.

Before the meeting, you should gather as many facts and information as possible. This will aid you during the discussion with your problem employee. Once the meeting starts you should outline the current problem, and then allow the employee to respond. The information you collect for the employee during this meeting will help you set the tone for the next actions in which you will take.

After the meeting, you should get back to your employee as soon as possible. Gather all the information you have collected, and decide what steps are next. If you feel the employee is sincere, and their behavior is correctable, then you should decide on steps to improve and motivate them.

As is often the case, if you feel that they employee is not sincere, then it's time to start the termination procedure.

If you feel that rehabilitation is still possible, the next step you take may be a project or a series of projects that improves your employees job performance. The projects may include revisiting new employee training procedures, extra training procedures, or following a colleague to gain further knowledge. No matter what steps you take, the procedure should begin as soon as possible.

Finally, after you have carried out all steps of employee counseling, you should review the problem employee's performance again. If the behavior is good, you don't have to take extra action. If the behavior remains poor, then it's time for formal progressive discipline that will likely lead to the problem employee's termination.

While this may seem harsh, the employee's termination is usually best for you and your company. It's also best for the problem employee since it will be better for them to find a job suited to their skills and motivations.

Counseling employees but it's not working? Here's the next step.


Terminate Employees with Care to Avoid Business Troubles

It is never a pleasant business to terminate employees. Nonetheless, the prospect presents itself and you must take action. If the termination is for “cause,” you must take great care must to keep from making a bad situation worse. There are books and articles available to guide a manager through this sticky problem.

Sometimes it becomes necessary to layoff employees for economic reasons. While this presents a different set of problems, you still must handle it delicately. The bruised feelings of the former employee may express themselves in ways that damage the business.

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How to Fire Employee

Most businesses have fewer than ten employees. Do you have an employee that you have reprimanded and warned many times, an employee that you are considering letting go? If so, we believe we can help you with the difficult task of giving them the pink slip.

Dating back to 1915, employers have included a pink slip with the pay stub notifying the employee of their termination. This practice is both efficient and impersonal. The act of including the termination notice with the pay stub has become seen as impersonal and not conducive to a positive work environment.

Of course business cannot come to a screeching halt because one person must be let go. A business has requirements and needs to fulfill. If an employee is underperforming in key areas, then the best maneuver is to bring someone in with the proper skills and expertise. By removing the inefficient worker, many businesses find their production levels increase, which helps to keep the other employees happy.

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