Damien is a new employee working on-site with a group of experienced operators. He asks to see you early one morning as he says he wants to talk about the job site. You meet with Damien and it is clear he is upset. Damien tells you he feels like he being bullied by the more experienced operators.
You ask Damien if he is ok to talk further and also whether he wants someone else here with him to support him. Ensure Damien feels safe and happy to continue talking.
- If you do not anticipate what your employee wants to meet you about once they state their concerns it is ok to stop the meeting for a few minutes and ensure you clear your diary. You need to allow sufficient time to chat.
- If your employee did not indicate what it was about and you cannot juggle your next meetings let them know you are concerned and want to spend the right time on this that you have only got 30 minutes now, so will continue and if needed can chat again later in the day. Make sure they know you may have to cut it short but will follow up asap as it is important to you – set the follow-up time in your calendar before they leave your office.
Ask Damien to explain what is happening and what it is that the operators do that makes him feel the way he does. Let Damien talk freely. Don’t feel you have to justify or pass judgement on his story. Damien’s feelings are real for him and our role is to listen and acknowledge that, not dismiss them or any other response.
- Let your employee know that you will take some notes as this is serious and before anything happens you will agree with them on the next steps.
- Listen to your employee, let them talk, and try not to interrupt.
Based on the information provided by Damien, it is now time to determine the next steps. It is critical to ask Damien what he would like to happen and let him know the options that exist. Refer to policy guidance on the available options.
- Refer to your notes and paraphrase back to your employee what they have said to ensure that you have fully understood the facts as they have been presented.
- Once your employee has finished speaking, you will have questions. The most important one being: “What outcome are you looking for?” This is important as it helps shape where to go from here.
Depending on the outcome Damien is seeking and the severity of the accusations, a range of options exist, including using a general staff meeting to remind all staff of what and what is not acceptable behavior and conducting an investigation into the allegations. It is important to keep Damien in the loop in relation to the claims and the process being undertaken.
- Once you understand what outcome your employee is seeking make sure you agree on the next steps and put a time frame on these.
Checking in with Damien is critical to make sure he feels supported and his role in the progress of working towards better working relationships amongst the team.
- Set day and time of follow up so expectations are clear.