Before the conversation
First and foremost, it is important to document conflicts and have policies in place for certain situations – it is very difficult to enforce rules and guidelines if they were never set in the first place. For example, if you have an employee who is frequently wearing inappropriate clothing to work then it is important you have a clear dress code policy which outlines the dos and don’ts of office attire.
Secondly, it is most probably the case that concerned employees have come to you complaining about the behaviour, dress or habits of another employee. It is therefore important you steer clear of the temptation to amplify this feedback by explaining it has been received by many, or excusing yourself of any responsibility for the complaints by asserting that other employees have raised concerns. This will increase the embarrassment of the employee receiving the feedback and will likely damage relationships and the atmosphere in the workplace.
It therefore follows that it is extremely important that you do your homework! Being prepared can go a long way to making you, and the employee concerned, feel more at ease. It wouldn’t be fair to the employee if you addressed them based purely on other colleagues’ observations. It is important to do a little investigating and gather some evidence to accompany the concerns being raised. A lack of preparation won’t help the employees’ growth and more importantly you probably won’t get the result you need.