We’re receiving a lot of calls from very frustrated employers where their first or second sentence tells us ‘I’ve had enough, I want him out!”.
We have a saying, people fire themselves…but managers MUST manage.
First questions we ask are:
- When did you last discipline or performance counsel the person?
- What formal records do you have of these meetings?
- What did the employee have to say about it?
- Have you clarified what you expect from the employee?
Unfortunately in most of the cases, the responses are along these lines…well, we had a few serious chats about this, and he knows how I feel. We didn’t actually put it in writing but it’s clear.
Well, clear to who? Based on what? …and if we were to talk to the employee, there’s generally a very different story, or total amnesia has set in.
If this is the response you’d be giving right now, then you’d actually be facing the FIRST step towards addressing the matter, certainly not the final one!
In other cases, the employer puts the first steps in place, with a comment that should it happen again, further action will be taken, but that action isn’t taken and so the months go by. By leaving the situation the employer is actually condoning the behaviour and the message is that it’s not that serious or important enough to take action.
Our legal system requires that we follow systematic steps i.e. procedural requirements in both performance and disciplinary matters. Be systematic in your approach, document ALL meetings and retain the emails and other correspondence; and follow up timeously when things aren’t at the required standard.