“Document, document, document!” That’s what you hear all the time as a manager and business owner. The logical need for documentation is clear: It not only helps you recollect specific details that you can later use to justify your actions, but it also lends a layer of insulation to the corporation by demonstrating that your decisions were based on sound business fundamentals. In addition, many arbitrators adhere to the adage, “If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.” Therefore, you’ll need to rely on signed employee disciplinary notices and performance evaluations to mount a defense.
Knowing how to document, however, is a different story. That issue will be discussed in this chapter along with the structure of the employee improvement plan. What follows is a typical description of events that led a company to take disciplinary action against an employee who had received prior warnings (both verbal and written) regarding substandard job performance.
Incident Description and Supporting Details: Include the following information:
Time, Place, Date of Occurrence, and Persons Present as well as Organizational Impact.
To date you have had a number of serious performance issues in the warehouse.
Now today, on 5/1/10, you have again failed to perform one of your essential job
functions—the timely delivery of supplies. Specifically, you delivered an incomplete
order of medical supplies to Nursing Wing A and also failed to provide the proper
paperwork to the charge nurse. As a result, there was a delay in the delivery of supplies,
and the work flow was disrupted. This violates our hospital’s standards of performance
and conduct and also shows a further breach of your responsibilities as outlined in
your previous warnings.