“Written reviews and documented coaching are often used in litigation to show performance deficiencies. Inaccurate, vague, or incomplete reviews can lead to litigation disputes later.” Kristina H. Vaquera and Milena Radovic of Jackson Lewis P.C. of Norfolk spoke at the May 11th Hampton Roads Chamber and Hampton Roads Society for Human Resource Management event. The session, held at Prosperity Insurance of Virginia Beach, was the second of a four-part series educating small businesses and HR professionals on best practices. The Hampton Roads Chamber and the Hampton Roads Society for Human Resource Management (HRSHRM) are partnering to offer the “Human Resources for Business Leaders Series.” The goal of the four-part series is to help local human resource professionals learn about new strategies and practices in human resource management. Seminars will be heavily interactive while leaving ample time for Q&A.
The May 11th topic, “Let’s Not Sugar Coat it” – Effective Employee Performance Management, focused on evaluation and performance management, discipline, and terminations.
The first topic focused on evaluation and performance management. When writing performance reviews, Vaquera and Radovic suggested using the STEEL method:
Specify: Include objective facts, not just conclusions
Timely: Address the performance issues, both good and bad, in a timely fashion
Explain: Explain your expectations to the employee
Empathy: Don’t paint the employee into a corner
Listen: Listen and consider legitimate explanations for performance issues.
Other points to keep in mind:
The second topic, discipline in the workplace, focused on the ABC's of discipline:
Vaquera and Radovic shared that “written records make up for human memory” and judges/jurors will expect to see documentation.
The final topic discussed basic termination guidelines. Vaquera and Radovic focused on the importance of consistency, having a legitimate business reason, clear documentation, and having the confidence to call in HR or legal counsel for additional help. Other considerations should be: How will it impact the business? Is the employee at-will? Has a thorough investigation been conducted? Is this action consistent with prior incidents of a similar nature? If the answer to any of these questions makes the decision to terminate questionable, who else should be consulted?
The information provided at the event is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or attorney-client relationship with Jackson Lewis. For legal advice, please contact Kristina H. Vaquera and Milena “Mila” Radovic directly.
The topic and date of the next Human Resources for Business Leaders Series event are to be announced.