Posts Tagged ‘employee concerns’

Six Tips to Turn Frustrated Employees into Positive Ones

Thursday, December 10th, 2015
Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares helpful tips to transform negative energy into positive action within frustrated employees.

Within any organization, there will always be an opportunity to deal with a frustrated employee.  When employees are frustrated, their productivity often goes down and odds are they are affecting the morale and productivity of those around them.

Some frustrated employees will never speak up regarding their frustrations, be it feelings of being unheard as an employee or mistreated as a team member.  Their feelings eventually turn to anger or resentment until they finally resign.   When an unhappy employee does confide in you, it becomes an opportunity to turn that situation around for an employee who may be a valuable contributor to the organization.

Start by listening to the employee.  Do not try to immediately determine if they have an actual problem. That can sometimes be a first reaction, but it is not what they are looking for when they come to you. The important thing to remember is they perceive there is an issue which needs to be discussed.  Let them talk through it and work with them to really understand their point of view.

Show the employee you genuinely care about their issue and then work to find out why they feel the way they do.  By talking through it, the two of you can get to the underlying cause and hopefully find a solution.  Follow these simple steps to turn a frustrated employee into one with a more positive outlook:

  • Appreciate Feedback – Show your employee how much you value the time, energy and the courage it took for them to come to you with this situation.
  • Empathize – Offer your employee understanding about their situation. Take the time to understand the situation and be genuine in your delivery. Otherwise, you will come off sounding like you are patronizing them.
  • Get the Details – Have the employee outline for you what led up to their becoming frustrated with the situation. Let them know, if appropriate, that you will investigate the issue(s) and therefore the more detail they can provide, the more quickly a solution can be found.
  • Offer an Apology – Providing your employee with a heartfelt, honest apology may be appropriate.  You may not be directly responsible, but you are not apologizing for the issue, you are offering an “I’m sorry” for the way your employee feels as a result of the issue.
  • Take Action – At the end of the discussion, your employee is going to want to know what you intend to do about the situation. They may not ask directly, but you need to convey your plans to take action. Your next steps will be what they remember. This is an opportunity to enhance your employee’s trust.
  • Follow Up – Offer a time frame in which you will follow up with the employee to be sure things are better. By now, you have conveyed what you feel is the solution and have hopefully executed it. Close the loop by making sure the employee is satisfied in how you handled it.

These simple steps will help you take control of a negative situation and make a very positive statement about how your organization cares for its staff. If you have questions about dealing with frustrated employees, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.

What has worked best for you when you have dealt with a frustrated employee? What has worked best for you if you were the frustrated employee?  Let us know in the comments below.

When an Employee Has a Serious Complaint

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News and Observer  column, The View from HR.

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

It happens in every workplace.  The same serious and unlawful misbehavior we see in our communities sometimes find its way to the job.  People are the greatest asset of an employer but can be the “crabgrass in the lawn of business,” as my friend says.

What should happen when harassment, discrimination, abusive treatment and other serious misbehaviors rear their ugly heads?

Managers, please view a complaint as an opportunity to make a situation better AND the long-term relationship with the victim stronger.  Psychologists in workplace studies say that an emotional crisis is a key point where your response can make the employee’s attitude much better OR much worse.  Some even say that the best predictor of whether a problem will end in a lawsuit is how fairly you process the problem, not the problem itself.

Good managers do several things.  They embrace the complaint, rather than avoid it, and focus on finding the right solution.  Neither of you caused the problem, so let the chips fall where they may and avoid prejudgment.  You will create a much better investigation and solution if you remain neutral on the outcome.  If you cannot be objective, ask for help.

Follow through with good listening, appropriate pushback to the victim for the whole story, and appropriate speed and discretion.  Take any quick steps needed to prevent repeat behavior while you work.  Ideally, keep the victim informed of your progress.  Get help from HR or a mentor.  Follow your company’s complaint process, at a minimum.  Precedent can be important to consider, but avoid a foolish consistency as the saying goes.

Employees making complaints have an equally important role.  Follow the complaint policy if there is one, but skip to another manager you trust if needed.  Your manager wants to hear how you feel, but must have facts to investigate.  Focus on the facts.  Who can help support your story?  Bring the problem to a trusted manager sooner rather than later.

Be honest about any part you may have played in the problem or steps you have already taken, good and bad.  Have some discretion and give this time to work.  What is your manager going to hear when he or she investigates?  For example, be prepared to hear some things about your performance you may not like (but need to hear) if work quality is an issue.

An important question that employees and managers often fail to ask is:  “What is the ideal outcome here?”  I am often surprised at how reasonable employees can be even in serious situations.  They know employers cannot guarantee perfect behavior by all.  But they have the right to expect help when they seek it.

Solutions to early-stage problems handled properly by all can be simple and effective, preserving relationships and protecting careers.  Problems that are buried like a bone in the backyard will only get worse with age.

For additional guidance for handling serious complaints from employees, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.