When I use the term Silence Gives Consent - people sometimes look at me as if I have three heads...what does that mean? They ask. It simply means that if someone does something they shouldn't do - or fails to do something they were supposed to do and you as a manager/supervisor don't say something - it gives the employee the impression that it was okay. If Joe is late for work by 10 minutes and you don't speak to him about it - the next thing you know - Joe is 15 minutes late - maybe you still don't say anything to Joe. A couple of things are happening:
- Joe is getting the impression that you don't really follow you policies - or that you are not really paying attention to what your employees are doing...this can lead to many more serious issues if left unchecked
- You are losing the respect of other employees - people who come to work on time every day feel like Joe is being given special treatment - or they think the same thing Joe thinks - you are not in control of the workplace
- If you work in the service industry - the person Joe is supposed to be taking over for are made to stay late since he isn't there to start work...this also may lead to unnecessary overtime
- You many lose some of the other workers - they don't want to work in an environment where some people are not held accountable for coming to work on time - they aren't getting any kind of recognition for being on time and Joe isn't being disciplined for being late.
The Answer: The first time that Joe is late - go to him and ask him why he was late. If he has a legitimate reason - you may not take any further action - but you have at least let Joe know that you are paying attention to what he does and that you care that he was late. The first warning you give an employee may be a verbal warning - meaning you are not writing them up, but you are letting them know that their behavior is unacceptable. Even though it is a verbal warning you need to make a written note of the fact that you had the discussion with the employee. This can be something as simple as a note in your date book or manager's log stating something like this:
Friday, December 14, 2012 - Joe was 10 minutes late for work today. I discussed this with him and let him know that he needs to be on time for work. I told him that it is important for him to be here on time so that he doesn't inconvenience other members of the team.
If Joe is late again - you have record that you talked to him about it once- the next time will call for written documentation - which we will discuss next time!
Training is not a one time event...it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!