The Talkative Employee
Employees have different communication styles. One style that seems to be problematic for a manager is the talkative employee. In an ideal world, your goal is to manage your employee’s communication skills.
Talkative employees express themselves differently. Find one that resonates with you.
- FRIENDLY – The friendly, upbeat person who enjoys talking with different people. Great if they are in your call center or are an account manager because they easily engage others. Yet, in excess this style of communication can be disruptive to others on their team.
- PERSONAL – What about the person who shares a lot of personal information with extensive details.
- LOUD – The employee that speaks loud and a lot during the course of their day.
- CENTER OF ATTENTION- The argumentative or challenging employee that interrupts others and needs to be the center of attention.
- EXTREME DETAILS – The employee that presents project work with too many details and doesn’t know how to be concise.
- COMPLAINER – How about the complainer that is unhappy with whatever is going on at work and talks to you and to their coworkers.
- NON – WORK – Busy with a lot of personal calls on their cell or office phone
Even if the employee is a strong performer, their behavior can be disruptive to the other members of your department.
I’ve spoken to managers and employees who don’t know quite what to do with the talkative employee. They feel cornered by the other person’s behavior and want to find a constructive way to discuss the issue without hurting the other person.
I’ve dealt with talkative employees and I know it can be difficult to engage the employee around their behavior. Managers may be concerned that the employee will become defensive, decrease their productivity levels or decide to leave.
When managing employees you need to realize every employee will react and will be sensitive if you are commenting on their work or behavior. It’s a given. What you can do is create a plan that allows you to address the issue in a respectful manner with the employee.
I’ve coached many managers and I consistently tell them to do the following:
- Write down specifically what the employee is doing that is disruptive to you and your team.
- Schedule private time to meet with the employee.
- Share with the employee how their performance has contributed to the success of the department.
- State that you want to address a specific behavior that you believe is holding them back.
- Present the issue to the employee. For example if you are speaking to an employee that provides too much information: “I appreciate that you want to insure that we have all the information, it would be more helpful if you were to take all of your details and create concise bullet points of the most important points.”
- Provide the employee with no more than 3 examples when you had experienced this issue.
- Listen to their response…this is important in moving forward with a solution to the issue. If they seem surprised by your statement, discuss their response. Sometimes people aren’t aware of their behavior. Keep listening to their answers and feeding back to them what they are saying.
- Ask them how you can help them with this issue. The basic assumption is that the employee is responsible for their performance and behaviors. If the employee doesn’t know how to present information or is nervous, then brainstorm with them around potential solutions. For example, you could suggest Toastmasters or if the company pays for additional learning, there are courses on “How To Create a Presentation.”
- Get your employee’s commitment to correct their behavior. The verbal commitment doesn’t always insure that all employees will handle the issue, but it does give you a better turnaround rate in solving employee relations issues.
- Schedule a follow up date (usually within two weeks) to meet again with the employee.
I find that if you catch problematic behaviors in the early stages, you usually can intervene quickly and resolve the issue. However, there are people who are habitual in their behaviors and find it difficult to change. In this case, you will need to set up a more formal performance improvement plan to address the employee’s behavior.
I recommend to managers to document employee’s performance and behaviors. Your file on each employee includes any issues as well as when they meet or exceed expectations. It’s makes your job easier because you can coach them more effectively, give them the appropriate recognition and make the performance review process a breeze.
The Next Topic
The Complaining Employee
“At the beginning of the day, it’s all about possibilities. At the end of the day, It’s all about results.” — Bob Prosen, CEO The Prosen Center for Business Advancement. Check out his book “Kiss Theory Good Bye: Five Proven Ways to Get Extraordinary Results in Any Company“