For those of us who own cleaning business companies, our employees are truly an asset that we depend on. While striving to improve your cleaning business’s functions and profits, any improvement in your HR department can easily translate into dollars and cents at the bottom line.
Last week I had a question from a coaching client who had two valuable employees who couldn’t seem to get along with each other. She wondered what she could do, short of firing one of them or separating them, which was logistically unattractive. Here’s what I recommended she try.
There’s a conflict resolution technique called “Start, Stop, Continue” that has been used with great results in many companies and this is how it works. The two employees are brought together with a facilitator to talk about what problems they are having. Each employee is encouraged to tell the other employee:
What behavior they’d like to see stop
What behavior they would like to see start
What behavior they’d like to see continue
For example: Employee A might say something like: “I want you to stop cutting me off during staff meetings by criticizing my ideas. I’d like you to start waiting until I finish what I have to say before you begin speaking. I’d like you to continue to give me feedback on how my suggestions could be developed and implemented.” In this example the stop, start and continue behaviors are related.
Here’s another example in which the behavior are unrelated. Employee B says: “I want you to stop talking badly about other people when they are not present. I want you to start showing me how to use the new product XYZ. I’d like you to continue to give me encouragement on prepping for my upcoming exam.”
In both of these examples, employees focused on specific behavior. So, instead of saying that someone is two-faced or is a back-stabber, by requesting that he not criticize people who are not present, employee B is able to articulate the behavior that makes him uncomfortable.
The person listening to this request is more likely to respond in an appropriate way because the request doesn’t feel like its personal. It’s about a particular behavior vs. them as a person.
And because the ratio of negative to positive is 2:1, the meeting has an overall feeling of being a positive one as opposed to a negative one. The negative in the meeting is the behavior that an employee wants to see stopped. But the positive side is a described behavior they’d like to see and something they want continued. This is especially useful when the start, top and continue requests are all related.
Here’s another good example:
“I’d like you to stop teasing me about how quickly I speak when I answer the office phone. I want you to start commenting on the time when I speak in a slower manner. I’d like you to continue to help me focus on improving this aspect of my receptionist duties.”
When your employees start communicating with each other in this way, your ability to improve your cleaning company’s staff relations will start to pay big dividends. Not only will the overall level of understanding and empathy improve, but comments will become more productive when they are framed in a stop, start, continue format. Try this for a few weeks and see the benefits within your company start to accrue!
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