(article courtesy of HRMorning.com)
You know how important clear and thorough documentation is. But your managers may be another story.
Thankfully, employment law attorney Allison West has some steps managers can use to make documenting performance issues less painful — and more defensible if ever brought up during a lawsuit.
West recently shared these steps at the SHRM15 Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.
What managers need to do
Specifically, West said that for it to help — not hurt — employers in court, managers need to make sure their documentation touches on these seven points:
- The unmet expectations. What goals, policies or standards has the employee not met?
- The behavior that needs to change. It’s important managers keep their observations of the employee’s conduct objective.
- The employee’s explanation for the behavior. It’s important that documentation reflect the worker’s side of the story. Not only does it show fairness, but it also helps keep workers accountable for their behavior.
- The action plan going forward. This doesn’t have to be as detailed as a performance improvement plan, West says. But it should include what steps the worker plans to take, as well as what the manager will do to help the employee improve.
- How much time the worker has to correct the problem. West recommends managers set realistic, but short intervals to follow up and gauge progress.
- Any consequences that will result if the problem persists. Be clear, but use punishment sparingly, West says.
- The results of follow-up meetings with the worker. You want to address whether or not the employee has made any progress toward improvement.