Corrective Action for Classified Staff
Informal & Formal Counseling
Informal counseling or coaching is just that. Typically oral, this action is taken to correct minor problems or to advise an employee of performance or behavior adjustments that are necessary. Informal counseling or coaching may be confirmed in a follow-up letter to the staff member.
Formal counseling is designed to provide structured, written feedback that includes a draft action plan for achieving successful performance. Contact your Human Resources Consultant (HRC) for assistance/guidance/review. The draft action plan should identify each performance problem, the actions necessary to correct the problem(s), and the time frames within which the problem(s) must be corrected.
- Prepare for the Formal Counseling meeting. Consult with your HRC for review.
- Coordinate the scheduling of the meeting with your HRC.
- Prepare a formal counsel memo to the employee that confirms the formal counseling meeting and includes the employee's right to representation.
- Conduct the formal counseling meeting. This meeting is intended to be a collaborative discussion/process between the manager and employee while reviewing the draft action plan.
- Follow-up the formal counseling meeting with a follow-up memo and finalized action plan.
Tips: Preparing For and Conducting a Formal Counseling Meeting
- Review the employee's information.
- Make a list of all the issues and policies that will be discussed in the counseling conversation.
- Summarize the facts and events from your fact-finding.
- Clearly state why the employee's behavior or performance is a concern.
- Make sure your statements are clear and concise, non-punitive in tone, and constructive in approach.
- Develop the draft Action Plan.
- Separate the facts from your personal feelings when conducting discipline.
- Make sure the conversation is held in private, and allow sufficient time for discussion.
- Extend the same courtesy to an employee as you would expect to be extended to you. Sometimes things are not what they appear to be. Your challenge as a manager dealing with disciplinary matters is to use your good judgment in determining why situations have occurred.
- Focus on behavior and the outcomes of behavior. Concentrate on a specific action the employee has done or that you want him or her to do, rather than the employee's "personality" or "attitude." When you focus on a specific behavior, the person will more likely be able to understand what you want and why, and feel less defensive about it.
- Example of a behavior statement: "Your reports are consistently late."
- Example of personality statement: "You are not very reliable about getting things done on time."
- Describe the outcomes of the employee's behavior. By illustrating the outcomes, you help the employee understand the business reasons behind why you have determined the behavior to be a problem, and that it is not simply "personal."
- Example: "By not receiving your reports on time, I am unable to prepare the executive summary, and our group's budget won't get approved this quarter. Without budget approval, I'm unable to request our vacant position be filled."
- Allow time to discuss and think about the employee's ideas for improvement.
- Discuss your own ideas for improvement.
- Set a follow-up date to review and discuss the progress made in terms of achieving the expectations set forth in the action plan.