Performance management will occur naturally as part of the mentoring and coaching process but sometimes there are situations that warrant more specific advice.
Dealing with difficult conversations
Managing a young staff member is sometimes challenging. The scenarios below are situations that real employers have encountered while coaching and mentoring young members of staff.
We've offered best-practice guidelines on how to deal with these scenarios.
Situation one: the phone
My employee knows that I don’t want them texting their friends and spending time on Facebook when they’re at work. I’m sick of asking them to stop using their mobile. I feel like every time I turn my back they are back on their phone. I’ve just given up about it; but it’s annoying.
Extreme reliance on their mobiles is not uncommon amongst young employees. However, they will keep pushing the boundaries if your rules aren’t enforced. We recommend:
Asking your employee for a quick chat.
- Explain that you’ve repeatedly asked them not to use their phone at work, and ask if there is any real reason why they can’t be without it (give them the benefit of the doubt).
- Explain the business case for restricting the use of their phone at work. For example, ‘it’s a safety issue and I don’t want to be the one to tell your parents something happened to you’, or ‘it’s a rule we have in the business because it takes the focus away from our job and our customers’.
- Explain to your employee that you’re serious about this issue, and that if they don’t think they can be responsible for managing their phone habits, you'll have to confiscate their mobile if they continue to use it while on the job.
- If you do take their phone, explain that it will be put in a safe/drawer etc. and available at morning tea and lunch. If it gets to this point, follow through.
- Also, if you make this a rule, it must apply to every member of staff, not just the young ones.
Situation two: lateness
My employee keeps coming to work late, or not showing up. I don’t know what to do.
Research shows that if young employees don’t have readily available transport to get to and from work this can impact on their engagement levels. However, arriving to work on time is part of their contract and employees must be trained to take responsibility for their actions. We recommend:
- Asking your employee for a short, one-on-one conversation.
- Explain to them that you’ve noticed an issue that is causing you concern.
- Explain that on a number of occasions they've arrived late to work and that it is a mutually agreed expectation for them to arrive on time as part of their work contract.
- Ask your employee if there is a reason that’s preventing them from sticking to the agreed rules.
- Ask them if they are serious about their work and want to keep their job.
- Ask your employee what needs to happen in order for them to start coming to work on time.
- Ask them whether they can commit to this. Let them know if they can’t, you need to decide whether you want them to continue working for you. In this case, you may need to implement a rule that if they can’t change their behaviour, they will no longer have the job.
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