They can however make mistakes and delay or increase the problem for the employee, resulting in damaging the productivity and efficiency of the organisation, or lowering the morale between colleagues. We all want our managers to take more responsibility, take control and resolve the situation with the minimum disturbance to the organisation.

ACAS has published a guidance note giving practical steps on how line managers or Human Resource specialists should conduct difficult conversations with employees so that where possible, they can obtain the right outcome for the employee, the line manager and the organisation. The guidance helps prepare line managers for formal or informal discussions with employees to establish the facts, consider what they know about the employee, get the right support, check the organisation’s policies and plan for the meeting.  Practical tips include:

  • Having a quiet word with employees at the first sign that something is wrong;
  • Keeping in touch with employees.  If they know you are approachable and able to listen, they may be able to speak to you at an early stage when you can help.
  • Plan ahead for meeting the employee and consider the location, room layout and allow sufficient time for the discussion.  Set out how the meeting will progress, the issues to discuss and how you hope to move forward.
  • Decide what questioning technique to use and when.  It may be more appropriate to use open questions at the beginning of the discussion and follow up with probing questions.  Closed questions may be ideal for the conclusion of the meeting where points need to be verified.
  • Ask the employee for proposals to resolve the situation and discuss these options.  Make a decision and arrange for a follow up meeting.

To download the Acas guidance, click here. At Anthony Collins Solicitors we recognise the importance of equipping you and your staff in skills to sensitively implement change and improvement within the organisation to help achieve long term objectives.

We have developed helpful documentation that we believe will guide your staff through difficult employment processes and offer ongoing support and development for your key people through training and mentoring.

For more information

For more information, contact Anna Dabek on 0121 212 7494 or