When last we spoke...we started talking about documentation and it's importance. In any company I have worked for- it has been a recurring theme that you must have documentation. Document your policies, document discussions and disciplinary actions that you take with your employees. My last post focused more on how to create some good and valid policies...today I want to talk about enforcing those policies and how documentation can help you to do this.
On day one - you have a packet of paperwork for the employee to read and sign. Read this paperwork with the employee and make it clear to them that when they sign the form they are stating that they read it and understood it and will adhere to the policies. If they are hired for a management position - they will also be held accountable for enforcing the policies. You must make sure that they sign the forms - and that you sign as a witness. Give them the opportunity to ask questions and make sure that you give them an answer that is clear and that they understand. You also need to have a place - whether it be a handbook or some online document - where they can access these policies in the future.
Now you can hold them to the policies that you have put in place because you have made them aware of the policies and you have their signatures stating that they understand them. This does not mean that if you fire someone they are not going to try to sue you or file for unemployment. What it means is that you will have the legal standing for why you terminated them and that can turn the tables in your favor. There are people who are going to try to sue you for looking at them cross-eyed. I worked with a district manager once who witnessed a patron falling in the parking lot of one of the stores that he oversaw. She wasn't seriously hurt and she admitted freely that the business was not at fault for her fall - but she tried to sue for "embarrassment"..because she was embarrassed by the fact that the employee saw her fall! Yes...that is a true story...you can't make this stuff up!!
Stay tuned...next time we will talk about how you hold people accountable for following your policies and how to fire someone!
Training is not a one time event...it is an ongoing journey! Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!