As an HR professional, I often have to talk to our employees about embarrassing or sensitive issues.However, I have a situation where I need to talk to an employee about her communication skills and I am not sure how to approach the situation.
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I have noticed this in my interactions with this employee as well.
I have also noticed that the baby talk intensifies when she appears to be stressed, so perhaps it is just an odd nervous reaction.
Most recently, I had to ask her a question about an expense report that she had approved.
It was just a simple question, but she seemed a little defensive like she thought she was in trouble and she switched the baby talk into high gear and said, “Am I in tubble? Her staff has been complaining as well, as they consider this to be degrading to them.
” in this little baby voice while giving me a pouty face. One particular member of her team told me that she pulled the baby talk in a meeting with one of her clients.
Afterwards, the client sent an email to his contact here and asked what was up with her strange manager.Just to give you a little more info on our environment: We are a mid-sized, business consulting firm and she is a manager of a team of about 20 account managers. Also, her immediate supervisor has asked HR to have the conversation with her as he also doesn’t know how to handle the issue.A couple of her coworkers have asked her to knock off the baby talk a few times, but from what I have been told, she has laughed it off and acted like she didn’t even realize that she was doing it.I am used to having the sensitive personnel situations passed over to me and usually I am perfectly capable at handling these things and tend to have a knack for being empathetic yet direct.However, this situation has got me at a loss for words. I once worked with a woman who did this — although only with men, interestingly — and it was incredibly grating and unprofessional and absolutely destroyed her ability to be taken seriously as a normal professional person.In any case, her direct manager is the one who needs to be handling this, because he’s the person charged with giving her feedback, and he shouldn’t be allowed to pawn it off on HR.