Two men having a crucial conversation
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Four steps for having crucial conversations with your employees

Now, more than ever, employers are faced with making difficult business decisions. This includes furloughs, layoffs and sometimes even closing their doors. Regardless of the situation, it is critical to remember compassion and care when communicating with your people during these challenging times.

Before entering a crucial conversation with an employee, consider these tips:

  1. Open and candid communication is key. Even if it’s difficult, try to avoid giving employees false hope. It’s vital to be honest about what possible outcomes could look like, including the best and worst case scenarios, so that you can avoid major surprises. When having a crucial conversation, try to have the conversation one-on-one whenever possible, even if it needs to be virtual.
  2. Keep the conversation fact-based, but show empathy along the way. Before having a crucial conversation, create a list of talking points to stay on track. It is important to be straightforward if the decision to let someone go is performance-based; they can’t correct the deficit if they’re not aware of it. It is also key to explain the “why” and thought process behind decisions. This will alleviate assumptions or misunderstandings. It is important to be present and show empathy and understanding during a difficult conversation.
  3. Provide resources to help during the transition. It is beneficial to guide your employees to resources and information to help them effectively and efficiently apply for unemployment. Here is a useful article detailing the steps to apply for unemployment resources. If you’re unable to act as a reference due to company policy, provide them with a human resources (HR) approved letter of recommendation upon separation.
  4. Take time to pause and listen to your employee(s). During difficult conversations, pause and keep an open mind as to how the dialogue may go. Hold back on assuming or jumping to conclusions about how an employee will react. Be present in the conversation and let the employee talk. It is crucial to really listen to what they have to say and to show empathy.

For more information on this topic or to learn how Baker Tilly Search & Staffing can help, contact one of our career specialists today.

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