Highlights of CA 2014 Labor Law Changes

It’s a new year and there are new changes for California employers!  There are a variety of changes on the employment law landscape this year.  We have recapped the most significant to most employers…you can either read them or listen to them in our podcast.   Additionally, we are suggesting what steps the average employer needs to take to assure compliance. You’ll notice that a few new amendments focus on higher penalties for employers…the best advice is to manage risk, audit pay and employment practices, correct errors quickly and treat your employees like you’d like to be treated!  An employee who feels cared for and happy in their job is usually productive, loyal and a joy to work with.

These are the most significant labor law updates for 2014:

Minimum wage:  The California minimum wage will increase from $8 per hour to $9 effective July 1, 2014 and to $10 effective Jan 1, 2016.  The new minimum wage is part of a three year plan that will make California’s rate one of the highest in the nation.  In addition to paying the new rate to employees currently earning less than $9, employers will be required to change their posting notices to reflect the new law.  Since one of the requirements for deeming a job as “exempt” is to pay two times the minimum wage, employers should also review their pay rates.  All commission agreements should ensure that the employee is earning at least the new minimum wage. Employers of workers in San Francisco:  the new minimum wage is $10.74 per hour.

Expansion of “meals and rest periods” to include heat recovery periods:  Requirements for heat recovery periods will now follow those for meals and rest periods.  Employees are entitled to no less than 5 minutes of cooling off in hot outdoor conditions and employers cannot force them to work during this time.  For every day a heat recovery period is not provided, the employee is entitled to one extra hour of pay.  It is advised that employers with employees who work outside in hot conditions review the guidelines set by Cal OSHA: “ train, water, shade, plan”.  See the CalOSHA website for more details.

Protection for employees re: complaints of unpaid wages:  Previously, the law protected employees from discharge or discrimination if they submitted a complaint of unpaid wages.  AB263 expands this protection to employees who assert their rights under Labor Code, including an oral or written complaint, from retaliation or adverse employment action.  The amended law adds a $10K penalty per employee per violation.  Employers should regularly audit their payrolls and time sheets to assure compliance with wage and hour requirements.  Make corrections to errors promptly.  Prevention is the best policy in this case.

Expansion of “sexual harassment”:  The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits “harassment because of sex”.  SB 292 broadens the definition of “harassment because of sex” to include behavior that is sexually harassing but is not motivated by sexually desire.  Employers should review their policies and assure that managers and employees understand the new provision and are trained properly.

Expansion of Paid Family Leave:  SB 770 amends the Paid Family Leave program to include payments for employees who take leave to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling or parent-in-law, effective July 1, 2014.  Previously, the program only covered workers who requested time off to care for a child, spouse, or registered domestic partner. The California Paid Family Leave program allows eligible employees to take up to six weeks of partially paid leave from their jobs each year. Employers should understand that this does not require them to approve leaves for employees to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling or parent-in-law.  This change will most likely cause confusion for employees.  Be prepared to explain the difference.  Employers may choose to voluntarily broaden their policies to include these new groups.

New protections for immigrants: Under AB263, an employer is prohibited from reporting or threatening an undocumented employee who complains about Labor Code violations to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This is considered an “unfair immigration-related practice” and businesses may lose their licenses and/or face charges of criminal extortion.

Military veterans as protected class:  This bill, AB 556, amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act to add “military and veteran status” to the list of categories protected from discrimination, bringing the total number of protected categories to 16.  “Military and veteran status” is defined as a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces Reserve, the United States National Guard, and the California National Guard.  Employers may still identify military or veterans for the purpose of contract preference. The bill does not prohibit employers from identifying members of the military or veterans for purposes of awarding a veteran’s preference as permitted by law. It is suggested that employers review their discrimination policies and change their required postings to reflect inclusion of this new category.

Victims of domestic violence protection:   The law currently prohibits employers from taking adverse action for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to take time off from work to seek remedies and services related to such matters.  SB 400 extends protection to victims of stalking as well. An employer may nor discharge, discriminate or retaliate against an employee because of the employee’s known status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  The employer must extend a reasonable accommodation for such a victim. Employers should amend their policies accordingly and assure managers are aware and understand the change.

Overtime rules for domestic work employees: Domestic workers will have to be paid time and a half if they work more than nine hours in a day or more than 45 hours in a week.  This law exempts parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling, child, or legally adopted child of the domestic work employer, casual babysitters or babysitters under 18.  This law is effective initially for the next three years, unless the legislature changes the provisions.  While this doesn’t directly affect employers, they may expect employees to request flexible work arrangements to handle the potential finanical impact.

Prevailing wage:  For employers required to pay employees prevailing wage, take note that there are seven changes for 2014. 

Successor farm labor contract liability:  SB 168 makes the successor or a farm labor contract liable for any wages owed by the predecessor contractor, as well as any penalties, under certain circumstances.  Successor contractors should perform a due diligence to identify this risk before the takeover.

Liquidated damages for wage order violation:  The law currently allows the Labor Commissioner to investigate and enforce  the  payment of wages.   The Labor Commissioner may impose civil and criminal Penalties for violations. The law grants a worker the right to recover, in a minimum wage claim hearing or lawsuit, restitution and liquidated damages.  However, currently the Labor Commissioner is not authorized to collect liquidated damages for the employee.   AB 442 extends the penalty and restitution provisions to include a citation requiring the employer to pay liquidated damages to the employee.  Employers should ascertain that their pay practices are compliant, audit their pay practices and take care that calculation of “regular rate” for overtime purposes is correct.  There has been an increase in class action lawsuits on this subject.

Employee complaints:  final orders:  AB1386 allows for a lien to be created and recorded on an employer’s real property once an award to an employee becomes final. The bill provides that the lien would continue on the employer’s real property for 10 years until satisfied or released.  Employers must take notices and citations seriously and act on them promptly.

Criminal penalties for employers who willfully fail to remit deductions:  SB390 makes it a crime to willfully withhold remittance of moneys deducted from employee checks in accordance with federal, state or local laws, with failure to remit over $500 constituting a felony.  This includes deductions for health insurance, pension funds, welfare funds or other benefit plans.   Employers should ensure that deductions are made and remitted properly and in a timely manner.

Employers who win wage claim lawsuits: Recovery of Fees only if Files in Bad Faith:  SB462 stipulates that employers who win wage claim lawsuits may only recover attorney fees if it is deemed that the employee filed the lawsuit in bad faith.  This places a burden on the employer for proof, which is often difficult to do.  Again, employers should audit their pay practices to assure compliance and deter any such claims in the first place.

 

For Businesses with employees working in San Francisco:

The Health Care Security Ordinance has published the new expenditure rate for 2014:  $2.44 per hour paid for large employers and $1.63 per hour paid for medium employers.  Small business (20 employees or less or nonprofits with 49 employees or less) are exempt.

The Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance takes effect January 1.  The Ordinance grants employees with six or more months’ of employment who regularly work as little as eight hours per week the right to request work modifications so that they may care for a child; a spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild, or grandchild with a serious health condition; or a parent age 65 or older. The modification can be a change in schedule, work hours, work assignment, location or the predictability of their schedule.  This ordinance is in effect for employers who regularly employ 20 or more employees and includes the employer’s agents.

New Minimum Wage:  The new minimum wage for San Francisco employees is $10.74 per hour effective January 14, 2014.

Advertisements

New CA labor law effective July 2014 needs employers’ attention NOW.

Recently, changes were enacted to expand the definition of “family” with respect to Paid Family Leave,  which is an employee-paid disability insurance program in California.  Until now, it helped replace some of the employee’s wages in the event they took an unpaid leave to care for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse or registered domestic partner, for the employee’s own serious illness, or for a new parent for bonding purposes.  Leaves for these reasons are also mandated by the State.  However, beginning July 1, 2014, the provisions of the insurance benefits are broadened to include the serious illness of a grandparent, grandchild, sibling and parents-in-law.

 

What’s a bit confusing and will certainly be confusing to employees is that this new legislature does NOT expand the right to take a leave to provide care for relatives in this new category.   It just permits benefits IF the employee is able to get an approved absence for the care of such relatives.  Employers will need to decide if they will voluntarily expand their existing policies to include leaves requested for relatives in these new categories.  Whatever the employer’s decision, full explanations are advised to be communicated to the employees before next July 1.

 

At present, mandatory family leaves under California Family Rights Act effect only employers with more than 50 employees in the US and its territories and is engaged in business in California.

Getting Recruitment Right

Whether you are replacing a departing employee or adding new staff, the prospect of recruiting can be daunting.  To find the right employee, a lot of time and effort needs to go into it.  Bad hires are costly, in time, training dollars, upheaval, morale poisoning, substandard work output and in some cases, complaints and lawsuits.  A robust recruitment process is your first best defense.

Yes, you must get it right procedurally.  An updated job description, a catching solicitation, extensive sourcing tools, prescribed interviewers, good questions, a background check and an offer are the essentials. Secondly, you must assure legal compliance throughout the process…discrimination avoidance, timing and handling of background checks and proper documentation are all governed by both state and federal law.  But today, the recruiting process is evolving quickly and you must evolve with it. More importantly, you must be strategic in your approach for each and every hire.

Recruiting has evolved technically. Not that long ago, employers simply put a print ad in a paper.  Over the last few decades, we have seen web postings, online recruiting sites, internal web-based applications and job boards, electronic candidate databases and social media.  Organizations can’t afford to lose pace with these developments.

The candidate pool is more diverse than ever.  With global reach and instant access, your candidate pool can be maximized.  However, employers must be culturally savvy and able to effectively interact with peoples of multiple generations, nationalities, physical capabilities, ages, genders and more.  The recruiting process must be able to handle thousands of responses quickly, as well as identify the best suited candidates.  The sourcing activity must be able to appeal to all age groups and technical abilities and be able to reach those passive candidates who are not actively searching.

Competition is fierce.  Even with the recession just behind us, competition for talent is real.  Job requirements are specific and ever evolving, so recruiting efforts must be carefully targeted and able to outdo others courting the same talent.  With baby boomers retiring, the predicted worker shortage is becoming a reality.  Also, since the labor market is global, competition extends worldwide.  The new generations keep attentive to opportunities and don’t’ exhibit the loyalty organization’s enjoyed in the past.

Your employer branding is vital.  Your recruiting process may be your future employees’ first experience with your organization.  Your branding as an employer is just as important as your product branding.  You are selling, so you need a marketing and sales strategy that has the right message and the right time to the right candidate.

Your recruitment needs a strategic approach.  Your process needs to reflect your organization’s vision and values.  It needs to be well planned and executed. Each hire needs its own well thought out approach – it’s not a one size fits all.  The ROI on talent procurements must be maximized to keep organization’s on target, competitive and profitable.

This is meant to provoke reflective and creative approaches to your recruiting efforts.  I invite all readers to share their best practice or creative approaches to recruiting by commenting on this blog.

For a more comprehensive overview of an effective recruiting process, see my white paper:  Getting Recruiting Right.

Taming your Time Management Skills

Tangling with time management?  Is your personal productivity in the pits?  Are you up against deadlines, pressured to get more done in a day, longing to have “quality time” with your loved ones?  Is more time what you really need?

Time is one of the things we just don’t have control over. It moves along, minute by minute, year by year.  Aside from money, it is probably the one thing most people wish they had more of.  However, if you had more time, how much would it matter?  It’s how we treat time that makes a difference.  It’s really about getting the right things done, not how much we get done.

For most folks, productivity can be improved by following a few universal tactics that the time management experts advocate:

1.  Define your strategic goals and objectives.  Think big!  These goals and objectives are the foundation that direct your actions, guide your prioritization.  Whenever deciding what to do, ask yourself “will this get me where I need or want to be?”  Is this contributing to my long term goals and short term needs?”  A great example is “create a financial plan that provides enough income for my retirement”.

2.  Establish the steps required to accomplish your goals and objectives. The basic concepts of project management are at work here.  For each goal, determine the projects necessary to accomplish the goal.  Refine that further into sub-projects and then tasks.  What will move to your calendar or “to-do” list is the next required step that depends on no other action. This is making a “molehill” out of a mountain.

3.  Create a processing and tracking system that works for you.  The experts have refined several systems of managing “stuff” that comes your way…emails, voicemails, snail mail, things you need from the store, the request made by your boss in the hallway. Every system should have these basic steps:

• Get it out of your head and in writing; • Determine the minimal number of collections spots for all of your “stuff”, the designated places where you will retrieve your new items;

• Use what I call the 4 “P’s”: Plop it, Pass it, Perform it, Process it.

1.  If it’s trash or something  you really don’t need (like that pile of 2 year old magazines), then Plop it into the trash (or delete it);

2.  If it’s something that someone else can handle, Pass it on (delegate), if appropriate;

3.  If it’s something you can just get done in a few minutes, Perform – get it done!

4.  If it’s something that needs time, attention and planning, then Process it by placing it       in your calendar, project list or to-do list; • Select a tracking system that works for you.  There are plenty of tools, from Day-timers  to electronic systems like Microsoft Outlook , depending on your preferences.  Also, create an effective filing system to store all of your project details, so that you can simply pull it out in a second and find yourself in a frustrating search.

4.  Plan and review regularly.  You need some level of planning, every day and every week.  This allows for changes, projecs progression, and space to accommodate new opportunities.  Planning and reviewing keeps you on course.

5.  Deal with interruptions effectively.  If there’s anything you can safely bet on, things will come out of the blue while you’re trying to get things done – a fellow employee needs some information, your boss wants to talk to you about a new project, your child is sick and needs to go home.  You should expect these occurrences and lan some flexibility to your schedule.  Other things to contemplate are a pleasant but firm decline, scheduling “protected” time, where you make it clear to others that you are off-limits, and planning for better meetings where issues can be collected and dealt with.  Avoid distractions.

6.  Communicate. Know people’s expectations of you.  It’s nice to give updates, but when the expectation is now compromised, be sure to not only inform the other party, but suggest alternatives, ask for advice or renegotiate.

One thing to understand about yourself and others is that there are many time management styles.  Each has its strengths and weaknesses.  Be open and take these into account when developing the systems for processing your “stuff” and when working with others on a project.

Lastly, celebrate!  Be sure to soak in the satisfaction of accomplishing your goals.

Global Genesis offers a full day workshop on time management/personal productivity, including a comprehensive time management style assessment.

Effective Delegation

 

Effective Delegation:  Practical Applications in the Workplace

Managers have so much to do nowadays!  They must assure quality, meet goals and objectives, plan, budget and execute.  While they’re doing all of this, they must also hire, train, motivate, direct and evaluate employees.  When the topic of delegation comes up, many managers “don’t have the time”, “can do it faster and better themselves”, or “can’t make it happen fast enough with the employees they have”.  True…delegation takes time, planning, patience, focus and energy, but if done well, the return on investment is incredible!

Some compelling reasons to delegate are:

  • Maximize/leverage resources
  • Create developments opportunities
  • Motivate employees
  • Utilize skills that the manager lacks
  • Improve leadership skills

As you can see, delegation is more than just another task in the life of a manager!

How do you delegate?  Here’s the steps adapted from Chris Roebach’s book Effective Delegation:

1.  Define and analyze the task

2.  Select the individual

3  Assess employees’ ability and training needs

4.  Explain why

5.  Identify resources.

6.  Set objectives

7.  Monitor progress

8.  Review the results

Effective Delegation also suggests that there are four levels of delegation:

1.  Control – The “control” level restricts the employee considerably.  The manager retains control of the assignment.  In the control level the manager:

  • Gives specific instructions
  • Supervises closely
  • Restricts employee’s freedom.

2.  Coach -In coaching, the manger is less engaged – the employee has more freedom.  When in the coaching level, the manager:

  • Supervises closely, but less directive
  • Explains the job by step but offers advice and support
  • Allows the employee more responsibility and input

3.   Consult -When “consulting” there is a shift in responsibility and power:

  • Allows the employee more freedom of action
  • Gives general instruction and invites ideas
  • Decides jointly with employee on choice of action
  • The manager is available for help.

4.   Collaborate – At this level, the tables have turned.  As Covey describes:  “the employee is the boss and the       manager supports” .  The manager:

  • Gives only overall direction
  • Leaves specifics to the delegee
  • Defines the level of freedom before the necessity to report
  • Advises and supports only in rare situations.

There are other considerations before deciding what, when and whom to delegate to, such as available time, stress conditions, urgency, employee motivation, employees commitment  and is the situation an opportunity for learning.

By utilizing delegation, a manager is leveraging productivity, developing employees and instilling camaraderie with employees.  It takes a commitment of time, energy and attention, but the long term results are invaluable.  Practicing delegation will enhance management skills and develop leadership skills.

Read my full white paper here.

Compensating Teams

Nearly everyone can relate to working on a team.  Teams are a great way to bring a group of talented folks together to focus on and accomplish a task.  They are also a means of providing development opportunities to employees, by utilizing skills in different venues, learning new skills from other team members and by taking on a responsibility beyond the purview of the everyday job.  But what’s the best way to compensate teams?

As you may have anticipated, there is no one best answer.  Compensation philosophy, strategy and design are the same as for individual compensation, for instance determining what behavior or results you want to incent/reward, assuring that the reward is meaningful, that the allocations are equitable and that it falls within budget.  However, there are several important practices to consider with respect to teams.  First of all, it is advisable to be transparent with pay.  Every team member should know what the plan is, the potential reward, the actual reward and how the reward will be distributed amongst the group at the outset of the team’s work together. The team should understand goals and expectations, and how the reward will be determined based on performance, particularly if the reward will be cash or a non-cash item of high value.  For self directed teams, the team’s determination of award allocation may be best, along with a peer review or the use of a 180 or 270 degree feedback device, where feedback is gathered from peers and others who deal directly with the team. It is also important that the team be mutually accountable for results.

In his book, Compensation for Teams, Steven Gross identifies three types of teams:

  • The Parallel Team – this team comes together periodically while each members also has a full time job (e.g. Safety Committee);
  • The Process Team – this team is a full-time, dedicated team, generally created for improvement in quality and/or customer service, the members often being cross-trained;
  • The Project Team – this team is a full-time team brought together for the duration of a project.

Here are some concrete suggestions based on his research that the author suggests for team performance recognition:

  • The Parallel Team:
    • Non-cash rewards are more popular
    • Any differentiation amongst members must be defensible
    • Allocation should be fully accepted by the team
    • Cash for successful results, non-cash award for mixed results and a memo commending hard work for failed results
    • Recognition occurs after the fact
    • Merit increases in base pay should be based on both regular job and team performance
  • The Process Team:
    • Incentive compensation is popular, due to incremental improvement
    • Incentive compensation is less likely to create disharmony
    • Non-cash awards are seen as helping bring the team together
    • Incentive compensation should be of equal amounts
    • Recognition occurs before the fact
    • Incremental merit increases emphasize continuous improvement
    • General wage increases should reflect new skills and competencies
  • The Project Team:
    • Non-cash awards and spot cash awards are most popular
    • Sizable cash awards are appropriate
    • Non-cash award for meeting expectations; cash for exceeding expectations
    • Allocation should be equal percent of base pay and/or individual contribution
    • Recognition occurs before and/or after the fact
    • Merit increases granted upon demonstration of required skills and competencies

A whole different viewpoint as to what motivates teams and what rewards they desire are depicted in this video clip:

The clip contends that workers should be paid enough to take money motivators off the table and what truly motivates is autonomy, mastery and purpose.

These two viewpoints are both  food for thought when it comes to designing your team compensation plan. What should we favor: money or meaning, when it comes to rewarding teams?

Remediating Poor Performance

Virtually everyone, when looking over their careers, has experienced some sort of performance remediation at some time.  If properly and effectively handled, the action was beneficial.  It’s really all about learning – one actively engages in an activity (or may not), someone notices that the performance could be better, gives feedback and perhaps instructions, and we change the way we perform in a better way.  It helps us grow professionally and personally.  So why is performance remediation so detested and subject to frequent procrastination? 

Most managers view the process as a conflict, and most people avoid conflict or deal with it poorly.   The prospect of telling someone that they are not doing something in the best way or not meeting expectations can be unbearable.  Conflict is natural and the process of resolving conflict in a healthy manner helps us grow emotionally and professionally. 

The most important aspect of engaging in a disciplinary action is to treat the recipient with respect at all times and to focus on the action as a learning experience that will help the employee’s performance become more valuable to the organization and to themselves personally.  In fact, the word discipline comes from the Latin disciplina, which means teaching and learning, and discipulus, which means student.  So, imagine your employee doing a task incorrectly.  Your first thought is “Wow, here’s an opportunity to help Joe grow professionally and become a better worker!”  You are starting on a positive and upbeat note…don’t lose this mental setting!  Half the challenge is keeping yourself on a positive platform.

My favored way of engaging in performance remediation is using a process coined by Dick Grote as “Discipline without Punishment”.   He differentiates “discipline” into three categories:  building superior performance, coaching and formal disciplinary action. 

In the building superior performance stage, concentration is given to getting the employee on track and keeping them on track.  Rule #1, the platinum rule, is to acknowledge good performance.   Since we expect good performance, it often goes without mention, but surveys show that praise is the number one motivator, much more than money.  The flip side is to confront poor performance, or to put it more positively, engage in improvement.  First, consider the expected performance.  Then, verbalize the actual performance, being mindful of an objective presentation.  For example, “You always show up late” is an arguable statement.  “I noticed that you came in fifteen minutes late last Wednesday and Friday” is factual.   The next step is to determine the cause:  is it a deficiency in knowledge or a deficiency in execution?  For a deficiency in knowledge, the action may be formal training, on the job training or job aids, such as process flow charts.  For a deficiency in execution, the action may be removing obstacles, providing feedback or assessing what performance you’re actually incentivizing.  For example, if you’re pushing the number of calls answered in a call center and what you really want is great customer service, you may have to reconsider what the employees’ goals really are.  After an appropriate timeframe, reassess the employee’s improvement.  If there is a positive change, practice the platinum rule:  acknowledge good performance.  If not, move to the second phase:  coaching.

The coaching session requires some preparation.  The desired and actual performance must be defined, the good business reason for the change must be verbalized, the logical consequences must be determined and the subsequent action steps must be formulated. The meeting should be planned with care:  a private setting and a reasonable time.  During the coaching session, get right to the point, but allow time for the employee to be heard; by listening to their side, you will be able to ascertain that your planned action is appropriate.  Next, discuss why the employee must change and get the employee’s agreement to change.  This is important because not many people will default on a commitment.  It’s not only the behavior/performance that is at stake, but also the employee’s word.  The action steps for improvement should be determined and confirmed; it is advisable to have the employee suggest the changes that need to happen – they will have more of a stake in the improvement.  Lastly, agree on the consequences for failure to improve and be committed to enacting them.  After the coaching meeting, be sure to document the discussion and to follow up in a reasonable timeframe.  If the employee improves satisfactorily, apply the platinum rule; otherwise you will need to engage in the formal disciplinary process.

Your organization may have a progressive disciplinary process; be sure to follow it and/or consult with the appropriate official when engaging in formal disciplinary action.  This has become an area for litigation risk.  The Discipline without Punishment model suggests the following steps: 

               1.  Oral reminder:  after an oral reminder, check in to see if the situation has improved satisfactorily.  If yes, commend the employee; if no, move on to a written reminder.

               2.  Written reminder:  it is advised that a preprinted memo is not appropriate – it’s intimidating and there’s no room for documenting the discussion at hand.  Instead, have the discussion with the employee and tell him/her that you will document the conversation.  Stress that it’s the employee’s responsibility to remediate the situation, and that they had agreed to do just that.  Probe deeper into the issues.  Gain the employee’s agreement to change.  Let him/her know that this meeting constitutes a written reminder and that you’ll follow up with a memo documenting the discussion, agreement and consequences for failing to remediate.  Here’s what should be included in the memo TO the employee, not ABOUT the employee:

  • Names of all present
  • Date and location
  • The specific problem
  • A record of all previous conversations
  • A detailed statement of the continuing problem
  • A statement that the situation must be corrected (not improved)
  • A statement of the specific change that must be made
  • A statement that failure to correct will lead to further action
  • A statement that in addition to solving the immediate problem, the organization expects the employee to maintain an acceptable level of performance in every area of the job.
  • A record of the agreement made with the employee to correct the problem
  • A record of any action the employee agreed to take to correct the situation
  • A closing statement that expresses the belief that the situation will in fact be corrected.

Meet with the employee later – a tight, focused meeting.  Review the memo.

Should the employee sign?  Legal advice would say “yes”.  Dick Grote feels that you’re telling the employee that they’re a liar and that in fact, most employees will not deny the meeting took place.  Again, follow up:  commend an improvement, move on if there is none.

Step 3:  Decision Making Leave:  when deciding to enact the decision making leave, give some notice and make arrangements for the employee’s absence.  It is advised to pay the employee for the leave.  Why?  Although unpleasant, on an unpaid leave the employee simply “does the time”.  A paid leave sends the message that it is the employee’s duty to really think about a serious change or choose to leave.  Have a preplanned meeting for the employee’s return and ask for their decision.  Document the actions.   As always, follow up.  Commend improvement.  If the situation remains unchanged, move to the final step:  termination.

Step 4:  Termination:  at this point the employee has been given every chance to change.  It is their decision that the termination is enacted.  Dick Grote says “termination is not the final step in a disciplinary process, it is the failed result of a disciplinary process”.  It is wise to consult your organization’s HR representative before moving to a discharge.  Prepare yourself; ask yourself the questions you may face should you face a jury, such as “Did you do everything possible?”, “Was the employee given reasonable time to improve?”, etc.  Have all the necessary paperwork complete (in California, have the final check including unpaid vacation and unemployment information).  Be prepared for anger or tears.  When you meet with the employee, get to the point and hold to your decision.  Afterwards, document the action.  Remember, be respectful no matter what the employee’s response is.

Hopefully, “nipping issues in the bud”, or dealing with performance issues as they come up, will lead to a successful resolution and the employee will be better for it.  A manager’s job is to develop, teach; therefore remediation is a manager’s duty.  Helping your employees develop brings great satisfaction and success to your management career.

Much of the information presented is included in Dick Grote’s “Discipline without Punishment”.  It is a “must have” for anyone managing employees – and “oldie but goodie”.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4 other followers

Cathy S. Taylor, SPHR