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4 Tips for Difficult Employee Conversations

 

As an IT manager, there will be times when you need to address employees regarding performance issues, conflicts, or other difficult topics. Although this can be challenging, it needs to be done sooner rather than later. You need every employee functioning as a cohesive unit to keep the company moving forward.

Implement these four tips to effectively handle challenging employee discussions:

 

1. Include a Witness  

Ask a manager or HR professional to be present during your conversation. This is especially important when discussing policy violations, behavioral issues, or anything that involves disciplinary coaching. Brief your third party on the situation to make sure you understand each other’s roles and responsibilities before the talk.

2. Remain Positive

Maintain an open line of communication with a coaching style of dialogue. This helps the employee avoid becoming defensive and argumentative. Begin by asking simple questions such as “How’s everything going?” or “Can I have a few moments of your time to talk about some feedback about your behavior?” Clarify exactly what the issue is and specific examples of how the employee can improve. Include facts and data to support your statements. For instance, “I have some suggestions for what we can do. Can you share some ideas so we can reach this goal?” Provide the necessary tools, resources, and support to reach milestones for improvement and measure success. Finish the conversation on a positive note.

3. Tie the Issue to the Business

Point out how the issue creates a concern for the team or company. For instance, consistent absenteeism may mean that teammates have to add to their already full workload to ensure tasks get done on time. Or, a conflict with a coworker can make it more difficult for employees to collaborate on projects. This shows your main focus is on the company, not the employees’ personal lives. Work with the employee to create a plan to improve and a job-related consequence if they do not. Making the employee feel heard is empowering and encourages them to do better.

4. Maintain Confidentiality

When addressing a conflict between employees, keep the conversation limited to those involved. Make sure they understand that what they disclose may need to be shared with others. Meet individually with the employee you received feedback about and others who witnessed the incident to discuss their behavior. Use the information you gather to determine what happened. Work with the employees to find a fair resolution. Hold everyone accountable for keeping with the final agreement.

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How to Create a Positive Team Culture

 

As an IT manager, you understand the importance of teamwork. When your team members communicate and collaborate well, they are better able to do their work. However, blending employees with different talents and personalities can result in challenges. This is one reason why having a strong team culture is necessary.

Follow these 6 guidelines to build a desirable team culture.

1. Define Your Team Culture

Talk with your team about what your culture should look like. This is important because your employees’ actions, interactions, and attitudes impact the effectiveness of your success. For instance, your team culture may be defined by having a positive mindset both inside and outside the office. This creates a strong team synergy that minimizes conflict and increases success. Everyone performs better when they work as a cohesive group. Different ideas lead to solutions for problems. Shared visions let your team see the future.

2. Learn from Other Successful Teams

Explore how teams with proven track records communicate, collaborate, and solve problems. For instance, incorporate ideas from companies like Google, Southwest Airlines, and Zappos to develop your teambuilding procedures. These companies are among the most successful in engagement, productivity, and goal attainment.

3. Encourage Collaboration

Instill in your team culture the importance of collaboration. Use your enthusiasm, self-discipline, and strengths to serve as a guide for teamwork. For instance, trust your team members to make hard decisions when you are away. Encourage them to discuss how you would handle a situation and carry out an appropriate plan of action.

4. Emphasize Your Company Mission and Core Values

Work with your team to create a list of team values based on your company’s mission and core values. Include in the discussion what everyone’s most important personal values are. Find out whether the same values impact their professional success and whether they would look for these values when hiring employees. Also, talk about what your team would not tolerate in the workplace. Use their answers to set team standards for job performance, customer service, and related issues.

5. Clarify Your Expectations

Explain to your team what you expect from them all of the time. Examples include honesty, accountability, commitment, conflict resolution, and pride in top performance. If your expectations are not being met, privately talk with the employee about the issue. Find out what it causing the problem and how you can help. If the employee does not want to set goals for improvement, assume responsibility, or respond to feedback, they may need to find another source of employment.

6. Continue to Build Your Team Culture

Use positive reinforcement to maintain your team culture. For instance, provide real-time feedback and coaching to help your employees maintain professional growth. Also, encourage your team to get involved in local charity events. Plus, organize employee family activities one weekend per month.

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3 Reasons to Hire a Contract Worker to Join Your IT Team

The way we work requires agility, particularly in the world of  IT. If your response doesn’t match the market reality, you put your whole organization at risk.

IT agility is your IT system’s ability to respond to external changes, and part of your agility comes from your people. That’s what IT contractors continue to be an increasingly popular choice for businesses.

Here are three reasons why hiring a contract worker is the right move for your IT team.

You Need Specialist Skills for a One-Off Project

You already have a few IT generalists and maybe even a security specialist. But your existing team may not have the skills and tools needed to complete a vital project.

If you need help with rolling out a cloud computing campaign, setting up an ERP, application development, or data center management, a contractor might be the best option. These projects usually occur over a set timeframe, which means you can hire a contractor for the project’s duration without worrying about finding work for them when you’re done.

You Need to Hire Quickly

Do you need to roll a project out in the next few weeks or months? Have you been given a hard ‘go live’ date by company leadership?

Hiring a full-time employee takes weeks or even months, depending on the skills you need. Contractors take less time to bring on board because they are a once-off investment. Plus, many of today’s top IT talent prefer to work as contractors, so you aren’t limited to candidates currently looking for a new job or getting ready to leave their current post.

The hiring process is more nimble, which means you can complete your projects on time.

You Need an Extra Set of Hands without the Expense

Hiring a new employee costs more than a salary: they have benefits, spend weeks going through onboarding, and can come with huge hiring expenses.

A contractor comes with a fixed fee, no need to pay benefits, and strict end date. So you can remain in control of your human capital costs.

Hiring a contractor makes sense for many companies, particularly when you have project-based work and a strict deadline. But just because you choose the contractor route doesn’t mean you can’t afford to find the right candidate.

 

Are you looking for an IT contractor? At RightStone, we place the right IT consultants with the right clients using our RightStone 360 process. Get in touch to learn more about how we match technical requirements and personalities.


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