When Its Time For an Employee Counseling Session

As a leading retail training consultant, I firmly believe that most employees want to be successful and to do a great job for their employers.  They would not go through all of the effort of applying for a job, sitting through an interview, completing the hire paperwork and then sitting through their initial retail training program if they did not want  to win.

But when visiting retail locations and consulting with our clients it is not unusual for us to come across an employee who has lost the will to not just exceed expectations, but to simply live up to them.

Many times these situations sneak up on retail managers and they live with the pain of having these employees working in their businesses on a daily basis without realizing the impact having a failing employee has on their customers, their other team members and themselves.  So how do recognize when it is time to sit down and have a serious conversation?


4 signs it is time to have a counseling session with a retail employee

1. You Find Yourself Complaining About Them Do you find yourself getting on the phone and griping about a team member to other managers or going home and taking out your frustration on friends and family?  While everyone makes an occasional mistake that creates a problem, If you find yourself repeated complaining about someone who is underperforming you likely need to take action.

2. Employees Are Complaining About Them – Your team members often know before you do that someone is shirking their duties or has a bad attitude.  While some people will have a personality conflict and will need to learn to get along, if you are hearing from multiple employees about a problem you need to investigate and uncover the core issue.

3. People Outside The Company Are Complaining  – Everyone gets an occasional customer complaint and it is not unusual for a vendor to have a bad day either.  But if you are hearing about rude or incompetent activities around a single employee that are out of the norm, you have a problem you need to deal with quickly.  After all, your business cannot survive without vendors and customers.

4. The Employee’s Results Are Regularly Falling Short – Of course no retail manager or store owner wants their employees to put up bad results, but many people subconsciously try to avoid the pain and discomfort associated with engaging a team member about poor results or the activities that lead to them.  The key is not to simply discuss the numbers or the shortfall in activity, but to get to the heart of the matter – or why the problem is occurring.


Having a successful working relationship with your team members is a two-way street.  As an employee, your retail associates agree to attain the minimum standards that you expect.  In return they should expect training, knowledge and compensation from you, their retail leader.

If an employee is not holding up their end of the bargain and you are, then it just makes sense to dig-in and address the situation before things get worse.