“No notes – No problem!” These words pronounced by a Judge or Hearings Officer can leave a business owner or manager dismayed, especially when the problem employee has caused huge problems for their organizations. Companies often lose employment-related hearings due to failure in presenting The Rules of the Game and providing The Score.
The Rules of the Game
The Rules of the Game establish the expectations for behavior and performance. Job descriptions, performance goals, and policies and procedures are important management tools and the basis for dealing with problems.
- Well-written job descriptions provide the first line of defense for the business owner because they establish employee performance requirements. (Without them, problem employees may legitimately use the defense, “I didn’t know what was expected.”)
- Performance goals establish the target to be achieved, as well as quality and quantity expectations. Consider that your best employees are motivated to know they are making progress.
- The employee handbook, which contains the company’s policies and procedures, presents most of the behavior expectations, i.e. attendance, smoking, overtime, workplace harassment and violence, etc.
The Score communicates performance results when measured against job descriptions, performance goals and the policies and procedures — kind of the moment of truth. Imagine a football stadium or basketball arena without a score board. Now envision the players running back and forth with no record of wins, losses, fouls or infractions. Not only would it make for a frustrating game, but how long do you think you could keep the players motivated? This is where documenting performance and behavior becomes especially important.
These three Rules of the Game tools are the foundation by which the score is measured. Judges and Hearing Officers often turn their backs on organizations that don’t have these items clearly laid out.
A Final Hint for an Effective Documentation plan
Make sure the Rules of the Game are communicated to employees and The Score is kept up-to-date so everyone knows how things are progressing. You might try my simple plan.
- Take a plain piece of paper and turn it horizontally. Draw a line across the top of the paper, about one inch from the border. Next, draw two vertical lines dividing the paper into three equal areas.
- At the top of the first column, write “Current Performance”. At the top of the third column, write “Expected Performance”. At the top of the second column, write “The Plan”.
- Now, in Column 1 under “Current Performance”, write exactly what is happening with regard to the job description, the performance goals, and policies and procedures. In Column 3, write the expectation as it relates to the job description, the performance goals and policies and procedures. Leave the middle column “The Plan” for the employee to write his/her plan for getting from “Current Performance” to “Expected Performance”.
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