When employees hear that they will be having an employee consultation interview with me, they are often nervous and unsure of what to expect. How can employees prepare for a consultation? I want employees to be as candid as possible, so there really is no preparation needed other than perhaps reflecting on what they like about the organization. Employees are assured in advance that the interview is not part of a disciplinary process, and that it is a positive interview.
I will provide employees with a basic summary of what the discussion will be about, but they don’t receive specific questions in advance. In order for me to do my job effectively and improve any organizational issues, I need to be able hear the information directly from the employee during a sit-down interview. Having that in-person feedback is critical for me to diagnose the situation. In fact, I’ve sometimes gone into an organization believing that there was one particular issue, but after speaking with employees, I realized that the key issues were actually something else.
Employees should be reassured that the conversations with me are confidential, and it’s a safe space to discuss their concerns. I will compile my findings into an aggregate report form for the executives, but the information I provide contains no identifying information about the employee. This is one of the big reasons that having a third party professional perform this interview is a much more effective option than an internal human resources department, which is never going to be perceived as neutral.
Many organizations are dealing with multiple issues, and in speaking with the employees, I often discover that the problems are not so much with the processes, but the organizational culture and communication style of the workplace. This can be difficult for the executives to hear, so it is my job to present them with the facts and statistics and coach them towards a better future.