Employee Relations: Practical Solutions for Early Resolutions

From Your Employee Relations Team

A key supervisory responsibility is leveraging the talent you are entrusted to lead and managing the performance of your team well. The cornerstone to achieving optimal performance from your team is to foster a positive relationship with your employees. When challenges arise, having a supportive network is surely a welcomed resource. Through this column, our employee relations team will answer questions to challenges and provide best practices for addressing difficult situations, before they escalate.


I noticed a few changes in one of my employees recently, including behavioral changes. She used to come to work energized, had a positive disposition, and overall was a strong part of our team. However, now she comes to work disheveled and complains often about others and her workload with a disrespectful tone. I am not sure how to address the issue. Where do I begin?


Step 1. Write down your observations as objectively and factually as possible and include dates/times to help you recall the details of a situation if needed. If applicable, include any other relevant information previously brought to your attention by peers or supervisors.

Step 2. Be mindful of the employee’s privacy. The issue may be personal in nature and you should treat the situation sensitively.

Step 3. Analyze how these changes or behaviors are impacting the workplace and if any recent changes at work may be a contributing factor.

Step 4. Have a conversation with the employee, preferably in a neutral and private place. Point out your observations and other facts, feel free to have a script, ask questions and provide an opportunity for the employee to explain. Most importantly, LISTEN carefully to the individual.

Step 5 (a). If it is a work-related issue, make an attempt to remedy the concerns, set expectations, and obtain employee commitment to improving the situation. If there are any pending items, schedule a follow up date(s) as needed.

Step 5(b). A personal issue may be the reason for the changed demeanor. Be compassionate and LISTEN. Objectively explain how the concerns are impacting the workplace, set workplace behavior expectations, and encourage the employee to take action on the matter by seeking proper assistance. You may refer the employee to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Special Note: Supervisors should take into consideration other similar situations, applicable policies, practices, etc. to ensure consistency. Please contact your employee relations team to discuss other options available for consideration.

Recommendations are general examples and do not apply in all instances. All characters are fictional and based on general assumptions of employee situations that may occur in the workplace hence the steps provided are only a guideline and should not be considered the actions to be taken at all times. More information may be required to address an issue based on the totality of the circumstances.

For assistance, please contact Michelle Sever, director of employee relations, at msever@valenciacollege.edu or extension 8256, or Lisandra Suarez, assistant director of employee relations, at lsuarez@valenciacollege.edu or extension 8210.

1 Comment

  • S. Shugart said:

    Great counsel. Clear, concise and practical. The power of listening cannot be over-stressed. People who work in large organizations such as ours often feel powerless; the simple act of listening can authentically communicate that they are important to the work team and their situation is alterable.

    AMFri, 18 Jan 2013 07:38:00 +0000Fri, 18 Jan 2013 07:38:00 +0000am13,7:38 am

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