New ACAS Guidance on dealing with difficult conversations

ACAS have this week, tried to refocus the employers attention on dealing with difficult conversations you may have with members of staff. The link below is to a guidance booklet they have produced for employers.

The highlights of the guidance appear to be as follows:

  • Covers conversations to do with both conduct and sickness issues.
  • Covers when an employee raises a complaint against another.
  • It states that in essence, the first port of call, where possible is to the direct line manager of the employee, or Human Resources.  If this is not available then a senior manager can be utilised.
  • Highlighting when you sense there is an issue with the employee which may become something larger by way of an informal chat. Try to nip these things in the bud before they go overboard and the employee feels isolated.
  • When discussing issues, don’t begin with an aggressive stance, you must be seen to be calm, professional, yet approachable.
  • Keep your emotions in check at all times.
  • Make sure you actively listen to everything the employee is telling you, this can be assisted by making notes during a meeting.
  • Clearly establish the full facts of a situation before making any judgement or decision. It is acceptable to say ‘I need time to put this all together before coming to a decision’.
  • Try and agree a formal plan of action moving forward and review it periodically with further meetings with the employee.
  • Check all company polices relating to the matter before any meeting, or decision being made.



Published: 23 Oct 2014


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