Conducting A Counselling Interview
Counselling is a form of coaching and its aim should be to change the behaviour of the employee.
Differing counselling styles range in degree from the directive approach to the non-directive. The directive approach involves the identification and solution of a problem by the Manager.
The non-directive approach is where the employee identifies the problem and the solution is derived with the assistance of the Manager.
The non-directive approach is the most preferred style because the employee is an active participant. The role of the Manager in this process is to assist the employee to work through their thoughts and allow the employee to generate their own solution.
The objective of the counselling or discipline interview should be to assist the employee to achieve at least the minimum standard required by the Company but not to penalise him/her for not achieving it. With this in mind, the following guide will assist in achieving that objective.
- Before you attempt to interview, make sure you have all the facts. For example, if the employee is often late for duty, you should check and list how often, what days and what times this happens and how this compares with other employees carrying out similar duties.
- Always conduct the interview in private. However, where appropriate, ensure that you have a witness and that you allow the employee to have somebody of their choice present; perhaps a union delegate.
- Discuss the standards and the level of performance desired.
- Agree on the gap between the employee’s performance and the standards required by the Company.
- confine your discussion to the facts
- do not argue with or threaten the employee
- be positive.
- Ask questions and listen to the responses with an open mind, but try not to ‘over sympathise’ with the employee.
- Ensure that there is really a problem that requires discipline and not something of a different nature such as an external problem that will have a short-term effect on the employee’s work.
- ask open questions
- do not jump to conclusions
- look for reasons for the problem.
- Discuss positive and achievable ways to overcome the problem. Assure the employee that you and your Supervisors will help wherever possible, if necessary.
- Be firm but fair. Ensure that the employee knows that the standards are those required from all employees.
- Ensure that the employee understands the form of instruction you are giving, either formal, informal or written, and that he/she understands the instruction precisely.
- Set a review date and make sure that you follow up.
It is important that every time the employee is interviewed regarding their performance, either formally or informally, you should make a note concerning the conversation in your diary.
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