Having difficult conversations is never fun, but Staffing Industry leaders who approach them strategically have productive discussions and increase the likelihood that the offending behavior will change.
If you were not trained in the art of having a difficult conversation, you probably default to one of these common approaches:
- Out of fear of conflict, you avoid having a conversation at all, hoping the offending behavior will resolve itself (it won’t)
- Out of fear of being disliked, your approach is so soft when confronting the individual that they don’t understand the gravity of the offending behavior (and thereby perpetuate the offending behavior)
- Out of sheer frustration, you take a corrective approach, speaking so directly that the individual may feel attacked (and may even quit)
There’s a better way!
First, prepare to have the conversation.
It’s important to have the facts and examples of the offending behavior before talking with the individual you need to confront. For example, if Recruiter A is complaining that he’s doing all the work while Recruiter B is coasting, what evidence must you gather to validate the concern? Compare Recruiter B’s activity to the others. Then schedule time to talk with Recruiter B.
Next, confront the offending employee.
Take care to ensure privacy and no interruptions. Ideally, be face-to- face or on video so you can observe body language and reactions. Start the conversation by expressing the concern YOU have about Recruiter B’s activity and why it’s important to address it. Ask questions to determine if something is going on with Recruiter B that is impacting her productivity. Coach Recruiter B about ways to improve her activity and point out that increased activity translates to more placements – a win for her.
Finally, obtain a commitment from the offending employee to change. Work with Recruiter B to develop an action plan for increasing activity, and reinforce your commitment to her success by helping her monitor progress.
By taking a strategic approach, difficult conversations just won’t be that difficult.