Creating a well-functioning and welcoming work environment for veteran employees can improve the work environment for all employees. Effective communication has been shown to lead to improved performance and morale.
Following is a list of communication tips that managers or supervisors may find helpful when bringing veterans on board at work.
Be straightforward and direct in both written and spoken communication.
✪ Listen when you are not speaking. Paraphrase and reflect back what someone has said to make sure you understood correctly.
✪ Keep your voice volume at a moderate level.
✪ Avoid using an angry, threatening, or demeaning tone of voice.
✪ Be clear about your expectations. Specify what you expect an employee to do or accomplish with a task.
✪ Consider giving written instructions or expected outcomes of a task.
✪ If you are unsure about your clarity, ask the employee to summarize what you have said and are requesting of them. Confirm or correct the employee’s response.
✪ Clearly designate responsibility for tasks and projects, especially when assigning a task or project to a team of employees.
✪ When assigning work to a team, make sure there is an identified leader or point person.
✪ Make sure deadlines are clear and manageable.
Communicating Limits and Standards
✪ Set clear limits and observe them. Be consistent.
✪ Be clear about standards for promotion.
✪ Give praise and recognition for work well done.
✪ Be clear about the consequences of unacceptable behavior.
✪ When correcting an employee, that at the base when you get your discharge papers, and learn to ask for everything. Asking for an opportunity shows you are eager and motivated to get to work. While not second nature, this mindset will pay dividends.describe what can be observed, not what you suspect.
✪ Do not avoid or ignore conflict.
✪ Have a plan or process for managing conflict. Make sure employees know this plan so they can act appropriately when conflict arises.
✪ Check with your Human Resources office to see if your company already has a protocol for how to deal with conflict, or if there is someone to help deal with conflict in the workplace (e.g., an ombudsman).
✪ Have the discussion in a neutral setting that allows for privacy (e.g., a conference room with a door).
✪ Identify the goal of the discussion (e.g., gathering information, generating a solution) and stick to the goal.
✪ Focus on the facts and the identified problem.
✪ If multiple people are involved, let each person have time to describe what he or she sees as the problem. Use a time limit if needed.
✪ Listen actively and paraphrase what was said. Ask for clarification when needed.
✪ Do not focus on emotions or the person.
✪ Use objective, professional language.
✪ Avoid judgmental comments or making generalizations.
✪ Do not interrupt or let others interrupt.
✪ When generating possible solutions, be flexible and offer options when possible.
How to Address a Performance Problem
✪ Identify the changes in performance that need to take place for the employee to be successful.
✪ Meet with the employee to discuss the performance problem or deficiency. Do not wait until a performance review. Use a private setting (e.g., an office with a door) in order to protect confidentiality and to maintain the employee’s dignity.
✪ When meeting with the employee, explain, in detail, the performance issues and explain why it is important for the performance to improve and meet the job standards. Be specific. Stick to the facts. Have documentation available. Discuss the performance issues and behaviors, not the person.
✪ Gain agreement on the deficiencies and agreement on the standards the employee must achieve.
✪ Focus on the performance standards required for the job.
✪ Agree on solutions and ask what the employee needs to perform the job successfully, such as more training or other resources. Agree on the plan and the time frames expected for improving the performance.
✪ Advise the employee of the consequences if the performance does not improve.
✪ Set up regular feedback meetings with the employee to discuss the progress (i.e., every Friday to go over the week’s results).
✪ If the employee does not meet the expectations outlined in the plan, consult with your Human Resource office and follow your company policies and procedures on the next steps (e.g., written warning, suspension).