How To Deal With a Talkative Employee
Studies show that employees that communicate and connect with each other during the business day increase productivity and helps with retention. Employees need roots in the company in order to feel a part of the organization and their relationships within the workplace help with their overall happiness at work. Some ways these employees connect:
- over lunch
- on Monday sharing the weekend with each other
- water cooler is the typical image of employees gathering
They share their personal lives, work issues as well as gossip. Gossip is the one area you will want to help educate each employee of its potential destructive quality.
You want to encourage connections between employee, and what happens when a team member is overly talkative and reduces their productivity as well as other team members?
If this happens, you will need to be proactive in handling this issue. Here are some ideas to help you work with the employee and not discourage them from connecting with others.
- Review whether the employee’s performance is impacted by talking. If they are performing, then you may want to review their responsibilities and see where you can increase it. They may be bored with their current level of responsibilities or don’t have enough to do. If this is a potential issue, then come prepared to the meeting with ways to increase their responsibilities, learning and contributions to the success of the team.
- If performance is being impacted by excessive talking, be specific and state the issue and how it is impacting them as well as other team members.
- When an employee talks too much, it’s definitely a habit, yet underneath their behavior is a need to be heard. Listen carefully to their responses to the issue. Use this information as fuel for working together to come up with solutions.
- You may be able to utilize their comfort with talking into presentation skills and have them be part of a training.
- Some people can’t sit that long and need more frequent breaks and their talking is a way to create a break. If they are performers, then I would suggest they take a 10 minutes break and stretch or walk around the building. Others need long stretches of work time in order to work on a project, and then they want to connect with others.
- Build in community breaks for the team.
- If the employee is a talker that doesn’t know when to stop, then you will need to be specific around the times they can talk during the work day and when they can’t. This may seem like you are a parent, yet the employee needs to have structure since they are having a difficult time creating it for themselves. Have them be part of this discussion; ask them if this would be a good solution for them and if not, then what would help them control their talking habit.
There is a difference between a compulsive talker and an individual who has a need to talk because of difficulties at work or at home. If the employee’s performance is being impacted because they are overwhelmed or bored, then it’s your job as their manager to help them resolve this issue.
If there are personal difficulties, then you can recommend they seek outside help. Lots of companies have partnered with Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to support their employees with work or personal issues. In this area, you can be flexible with time; though do not get involved with solving their personal issues.
No matter how creative you become in helping the employee, keep in mind that it is the employee who has the issue. They must take ownership of the issue and be part of the solution, otherwise their behavior will not change. Be well, Pat
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