Taking a Personalized Approach to Communicating with Employees

office workers collaborating One of the chief advantages for managers who have assessment data on hand fortheir employees is an understanding of each employee’s preferred communication style. By reviewing output from an employee assessment, managers can tailor their communication approach. This information is particularly critical when delivering feedback to an employee that might be related to performance issues. Building a positive coaching environment will gain buy-in and make the achievement of meaningful goals more attainable.

Here are seven steps that, when followed, will create a positive environment for providing feedback.

  • Build a relationship of mutual trust: Without some degree of trust between the manager and the employee, an effective coaching meeting is impossible.
  • Open the meeting: Restate the purpose of the meeting in a friendly, non-judgmental manner.
  • Get agreement: Get the employee to agree verbally that a performance issue exists. Overlooking or avoiding the issue because it’s assumed is a typical mistake made by many managers. Citing specifics and gaining agreement sets the stage for next steps.
  • Explore alternatives: Encourage the employee to identify alternative solutions. The manager’s goal isn’t to choose the alternative but to maximize the possibilities and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Get a commitment to act: The employee needs to make a verbal commitment regarding what action will be taken and when it will happen.
  • Handle excuses: Managers need to use skills such as rephrasing the point and responding empathically to help an employee move beyond roadblocks.
  • Provide feedback: Regular performance feedback that is timely, specific and focuses on “what” versus the why strengthens performance. 

Coaching is the process of developing employees by providing them with the opportunity to grow and achieve optimal performance through feedback, counseling and mentoring. Rather than relying solely on an annual review schedule, managers who consider assessment data to tailor communications have greater opportunity to impact growth and development.