As your business grows, it’s likely your business grows along with it. Whether you have five employees or 50 employees, it’s important to document administrative components, such as employee performance and discipline.
Not only is having documentation a helpful aspect in your business, but it can be useful in protecting your business if you’re ever facing a legal challenge. An employer who takes the time to document upfront can save both time and money in the long-run.
Review the following tips and steps for documenting employee performance and discipline:
Set up a process
One of the first and arguably most important things is to have is a process in place when you approach documenting employee performance and/or discipline. Be sure to follow that process every time you evaluate, praise, or discipline an employee so that each employee is evaluated based on the same process to ensure employees are treated equally. The process, or policy, doesn’t have to be intricately detailed or complex, but it should have a strong foundation in your business.
Recap the employee’s history
What happens when you need to discipline an employee? If you are going to take the time to put an employee on a performance improvement plan or take the time to document a write-up, you should recap the employee’s history to review how they arrived at this point or problem. Not only does this account for details, but it could help you understand how this situation unfolded and where opportunities exist for both parties to improve.
Identify the problem
When attempting to identify the problem with an employee’s performance, consider several factors. Has your business undergone major changes recently? Has the employee been tasked with new responsibilities? If there’s a particular problem with a task or project, examine the timeline and the communication. Understanding the big picture can help you identify the smaller details and ultimately help you get your employee back on track.
Setting expectations and objectives is important. If you’ve ever been asked to simply “do better,” it’s hard to know exactly how you can do that and measure it in the future. When you’re documenting employee performance, you should establish expectations with your employee to so that both parties understand what should be done to improve the performance. Bringing expectations to the table allows both the employer and the employee to know what they need to do on each end in order to accomplish the objective.
Time is an important component in business and in life, which is why a timeframe should be considered and established when documenting an employee performance plan. When should your employee meet these expectations or objectives for improvements? Like any goal you set forth, a timeframe should be set in place, otherwise, the goal is left open to interpretation.
What will happen if an employee commits to a plan but doesn’t see it through? Consequences don’t always have to mean termination, but consequences for failure to take or accomplish actions or objectives that both parties have agreed upon should be established regardless of what could transpire afterward. A business can save time and money by setting consequences so that if termination becomes a necessary action, an employee cannot later bring up a claim because they had previously agreed upon the possibility of those consequences.
Documenting important aspects of your business including employee performance and discipline is a necessary step in protecting your business from legal challenges in the future. It also saves significant time and money by having the necessary information up front if legal action is brought against a business.