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Communication is essential for an effective workplace. Communication usually comes in the form of written and oral, with the latter responsible for conveying ideas and concerns to co-workers and managers. An employee who struggles to communicate orally may cause confusion among others when he talks. Addressing the employee’s ineffective oral communication in his performance evaluation lets you help the employee one-on-one. Remaining supportive and instilling confidence in the employee leads to the best results.
Meet with the employee in your office or an enclosed area where no other employees are present. Explain to the employee that you want to go over his performance evaluation with him.
Begin by explaining to the employee that throughout the evaluation period you have noticed him struggle to properly communicate with his co-workers, customers and managers orally. Do not state that the employee is bad at communicating or infer that he has a problem; simply state that you believe it’s a weakness that he can fix.
Provide the employee with examples of times he had difficulty communicating orally. Showing him times when he struggled to effectively communicate provides him with evidence that he does struggle to convey his thoughts and ideas to people.
Explain the importance of oral communication. Tell the employee that a failure to communicate effectively can lead to a misunderstanding between co-workers or customers and prevent the employee from fully expressing his ideas. Misunderstandings can cause delayed projects or result in improperly completed tasks. Explain that proper oral communication also makes the employee appear more confident.
Arm the employee with tips on how he can improve his oral communication. Tell him to look others in the eyes when he talks, to keep his hands clear of his mouth and to communicate his ideas and concerns in full. For example, explain that saying “The constant noise from machines near my work area makes it difficult to concentrate” is better than saying “I’m having difficulty working effectively.”
Instill confidence in the employee. Tell him that everyone has weaknesses, and assure him that you believe he can turn his weakness into a strength. Talk about his strong work performance, if applicable, and explain that better oral communication will augment his performance.
Ask the employee if he would feel comfortable being mentored by a co-worker. Choose a mentor who demonstrates consistent professionalism and excels in oral communication.