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Whilst preparing our new online training programme for Room Leaders, SHINE, I’ve been thinking about the struggles Managers have when it comes to structuring difficult conversations with their staff about performance.

Questions they ask themselves include:

  • What if they sulk for the rest of the shift?
  • What if there are tears, who will cover the room afterwards?

All very reasonable concerns, that it has to be said, not giving the feedback is far more damaging for your setting.

Feedback is not like constructive criticism as it is not a judgment about the person. Feedback is actually based on observed practice, facts and evidence. Its not personal.

There are no feelings in feedback!

We will all know people who appear incapable of taking constructive criticism, and usually the personal nature of the judgment that they don’t like rather that the criticism itself.

With feedback you need to be prepared.

Use observations to provide evidence of the practitioner’s performance.

Physical evidence is always useful here.  If you can show the practitioner what you are talking about it has the ability to break the intense experience that some people find makes them uncomfortable. Have you got CCTV you can replay, physical entries in planners and systems that you feel are not up to performance.

When structuring the conversation, start with thanking them for joining you, ask them open questions that are fairly easy to answer so that they are comfortable talking to you.

Talk to the employee about what you are concerned about, give clear feedback about what you are seeing that you need to see less of, and what you want them to do differently in the future.

To follow up the feedback you can either compile a performance action plan or write to the employee to outline your concerns and your expectations for future performance.  If appropriate point out what the consequences of not improving performance will be.

We hope you find this approach useful, if you need any help, give us a shout.