Supervisor's Tool Kit

Talking Tips For Supervisors


1.  When facing a disciplinary situation, give the employee time to tell his or her side of the story.

“I know the perspective of the person who brought this to my attention, but I would like to give you an opportunity to share yours.  What happened from your perspective?”

2.  Be respectful.  Listen and have empathy for the employee’s situation.

“I know that this is a new policy and as a smoker, it must be difficult for you.  I am here to help you with this transition.”

3.  Be direct.  Make a clear statement that this is an important policy to the University and it is an expectation that everyone adheres to this policy.

“Even though this is a new policy, we have always had policies about not smoking in certain areas.  I need you to understand that violations to university policy are serious and I need your cooperation."

4.  Refocus the employee back to the issue (violating smoke-free environment) and ask them to come up with actions steps that will resolve the problem.

“Now that we have discussed the importance of complying with the smoke-free policy, how will you manage to follow these guidelines in the future?  Let’s talk specifically about what you will do the next time you feel the need to smoke during working hours.  How will you manage the situation?”

5.  Double-check that you understand (summarize what employee said).

“So, what you have just said to me is [rephrase what you heard]. Another suggestion might be to [suggest possible alternatives].”

6.  Offer assistance/support.  Make sure they are aware of the "Pack It Up" cessation program offered by The Auburn Harrison School of Pharmacy, Auburn Medical Clinic, and Health Promotion and Wellness Services.  These three organizations provide help to individuals in our family who wish to quit smoking.  The program involves personal, face-to-face evaluations, and planning sessions with pharmacists. Pharmacotherapy is also an available option for those who need it to facilitate their cessation process.  “Pack It Up” not only helps those wishing to quit tobacco but will also assist employees not ready to quit, but interested in adhering to the policy.

“I would like to refer you to our “Pack It Up” program provided by the Harrison School of Pharmacy. They can assist you even if you are not ready to quit smoking.  The Harrison School of Pharmacy can be contacted at (334) 844-4099 or via email ( Also, if you are having a personal issue that may make it difficult for you to manage your smoking while at work, you may consider contacting the Auburn Medical Clinic at (344) 844-4416.

7.  Set up a future meeting to discuss progress.

“Let’s meet again in two weeks to discuss how you are doing.  It is important to me that you succeed in this plan, so please let me know anytime between now and when we meet if you are having difficulties

For additional assistance please contact your department's Human Resources liaison or contact the Human Resources Department directly at:

Two great resources are listed below:

The Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy offers pharmaceutical care to individuals in our community who wish to quit smoking. The "Pack It Up" Cessation Program involves personal, face-to-face evaluations and planning sessions with pharmacists. Pharmacotherapy is also an available option for those who need it to facilitate their cessation process. 

Appointments with Auburn pharmacists can be made by phone or email:

(334) 844-4099

Also, the state of Alabama offers an educational and counseling service over the phone and the Internet. Alabama QUITNOW offers FREE counseling from qualified professionals, a personalized quit plan made just for you, and FREE nicotine patches for four weeks if enrolled in the counseling program. Counseling and planning are available toll free by phone or by Internet chat, and registering is easy.

You can access the QUITNOW services:

(1-800-QUITNOW) or (1-800-784-8669)

Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm; Saturday, 9:30am-5:30pm

For updates about Auburn University's effort to create a healthier and cleaner smoke-free campus please follow @SmokeFreeAU on Twitter.