Employee Assistance Program

Confronting Your Employee

Constructive Confrontation: Helping Your Employee Succeed

Ideally, meeting with your employee and discussing performance problems leads to self-correction. However, when a chronic personal problem contributes to performance problems, it is more likely that self-correction will last only a few days or weeks spurred by a renewed sense of self-control that follows a confrontation with the supervisor.

Sometimes troubled employees confronted with performance shortcomings get help for personal problems immediately and you may not know it. Others try harder to use willpower, or remain in denial that a personal problem is causing their performance problems. These employees may eventually need a supervisor referral to the EAP before they can be helped. Some will not seek help until motivated by the possibility or certainty of disciplinary action.

An employee does not have to “want help” before the EAP can work. The requirement of “wanting” help first, before one can be helped, is a myth about the helping process.

  • Be direct and formal in your discussion with your employee. Ask why performance problems are continuing, and what the employee believes is wrong. If personal, recommend the EAP. If work-related, consider an appropriate intervention or response.
  • Confronting your employee immediately after a performance-related incident is helpful in reducing denial and facilitating a constructive meeting that will motivate your employee.
  • Use your documentation (which should not be a surprise to the employee) in your corrective interview.
  • Make an agreement with your employee that specifies “what” and “when” improvements in performance will be forthcoming. Schedule a date for a follow-up meeting.

Next: Referring Your Employee