Archive for the ‘employee discipline’ Category

Our Human Assets

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

One of the most important factors in the success of any endeavor is the dedication and performance of its employees.  They are, after all, the ones who do the work from top to bottom of the organization and they are the ones who directly serve your members every day in all areas of the operations.

Recognizing the importance of employees’ contributions, there are a number of things that influence the quality and performance of your human assets.

  • Hiring well,
  • Employee development and training,
  • Disciplinary system, and
  • Organizational leadership.

Hiring Well.  Jim Collins in his groundbreaking book, Good to Great:  Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t, speaks of the importance of getting the right people on the bus and the right people in the right seats on the bus.

Employee Development and Training.  In order for employees to perform at high levels they must know what’s expected of them, be thoroughly trained, and receive ongoing feedback, both formal and informal, regarding their performance.

Disciplinary System.  It’s an absolute requirement that employees are treated consistently and fairly in all aspects of employment and the club’s disciplinary system.  The consequences of failing to do this include discrimination and wrongful termination complaints, higher unemployment compensation costs, and the ongoing turmoil of complaints and grievances.

Organizational Leadership.  This is the most important factor contributing to high levels of employee commitment, dedication, and performance.  Employees who are valued, engaged, motivated, informed, listened to, and empowered by the consistent application of sound leadership from the entire management team will consistently achieve at higher levels than those who don’t.

While high performing individuals can be found in any segment of the population, a club will find it difficult to build a team of such performers without understanding the underlying disciplines in finding, hiring, developing, and retaining them.

Excerpted from Employee Development and Discipline on the Go, Hospitality Resources International.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

Employee Counseling/Disciplinary Sessions

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Periodically it becomes necessary to meet privately with an employee to discuss problems with his conduct or work performance.  Such meetings can merely be counseling sessions (i.e., discussions) or they can be more formal disciplinary sessions.

The difference between the two depends upon your aims for the meeting.  If you wish to have an exploratory discussion to find out what is wrong and to constructively criticize conduct or performance, a counseling session is appropriate.  If you wish to discipline or punish an employee for more serious or repeated misconduct, a disciplinary session is in order.

Conducting Counseling/Disciplinary Sessions

How you conduct counseling and disciplinary sessions has a lot to do with their success.

First, the meeting must be held in private, in a quiet, uninterrupted setting.  You may wish to include a witness, such as a trusted associate or the Personnel Administrator.  Never use a departmental peer of the employee being counseled.

Second, the tone of the session should match the purpose.

  • If the session is for counseling, the meeting should be less formal, more comfortable, and supportive.  The conversation should focus on constructive criticism, problem discovery, and proposed solutions.  While this should be done in a supportive way, it is also necessary to communicate to the employee the negative consequences of continued problems.
  • When the purpose of the meeting is disciplinary, the session should be formal and the tone serious.  The idea is to impress upon the employee the serious nature his actions, the impending consequences if he does not improve his behavior or performance, and the issuance of the disciplinary report, suspension, or termination, as the case may warrant.

Third, your investigation of any incident or your documentation of a series of problems must be thorough and detailed.  Do not go off half-cocked to write somebody up before investigating.  You may have an incomplete picture of what happened and be embarrassed when the full story comes out.

Fourth, after telling the employee the reason for the meeting and relating the incident or allegations as you know them, give him a chance to tell his side of the story.  He may have mitigating circumstances or a very different version of what happened.  His story may require further investigation or corroboration.  You may need to call other people in as witnesses or to contradict his version.

Fifth, after hearing his side of the story, decide what action you will take and prepare the Record of Employee Counseling, describing the incident or problem, allowing him to offer any response, and providing your summary of the counseling or disciplinary action.

Last, present him with the Report.  Ask for his signature.  If he chooses not to sign, so note it.  Make sure the Report is complete.  Provide the employee with a copy; send one to Personnel Administrator for inclusion in his Personnel File, and save one for your departmental files.

Documenting the Session

The key to successful disciplinary actions is good documentation.  Supervisors have two documentary tools at their disposal – Staff Notes and the Record of Employee Counseling.

As previously mentioned, Staff Notes are daily or weekly notes made about staff performance.  They should contain instances of tardiness, absences, failure to follow instructions and procedures, complaints, arguments or disputes with other staff, instances of outstanding performance, etc.  These brief notes are invaluable in helping a supervisor reconstruct circumstances, give details in review sessions, or document continuing disciplinary problems of a minor nature.

Records of Employee Counseling are to be used for formal documentation of problems when you wish to give the employee a copy.  These reports must be filled out completely and accurately.  If you fail to enter a date, fail to sign it, fail to present it to the employee, or fail to get his signature or note “chose not to sign,” the record may be useless as documentary evidence.

Right to Respond

Each employee subject to a disciplinary action or unsatisfactory performance review has a right to respond.  Such response should come within 7 days of the report or review.

Supervisors should consider the response, amend the report or review if warranted, and attach the response without alteration to all copies of the disciplinary report or review (Personnel File copy and departmental copy).

Choosing Not to Sign

Employees are requested to sign all disciplinary reports and performance reviews, but have an absolute right not to sign.  The absence of the employee’s signature will not affect the validity of the document, so long as you note that it was presented to him.  If an employee chooses not to sign, you do this by writing “chose not to sign” and the date on the signature line.  Do not use the words “refused to sign” as this connotes coercion or lack of choice.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking  hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for the Hospitality Industry!

Conducting Employee Counseling and Disciplinary Sessions

Monday, April 16th, 2012

How supervisors conduct counseling and disciplinary sessions has a lot to do with their success.

First, the meeting must be held in private, in a quiet, uninterrupted setting.  The supervisor may wish to include a witness, such as a trusted associate or the HR manager.  Do not use a departmental peer of the employee being counseled.

Second, the tone of the session should match the purpose.

  • If the session is for counseling, the meeting should be less formal, more comfortable, and supportive.  The conversation should focus on constructive criticism, problem discovery, and proposed solutions.  While this should be done in a supportive way, it is also necessary to communicate to the employee the negative consequences of continued problems.
  • When the purpose of the meeting is disciplinary, the session should be formal and the tone serious.  The idea is to impress upon the employee the serious nature his actions, the impending consequences if he does not improve his behavior or performance, and the issuance of the disciplinary report, suspension, or discharge, as the case may warrant.

Third, the investigation of any incident or documentation of a series of problems must be thorough and detailed.  Supervisors must not go off half-cocked to write somebody up before investigating.  Supervisors may have an incomplete picture of what happened and be embarrassed when the full story comes out.

Fourth, after telling the employee the reason for the meeting and relating the incident or allegations, the supervisor should give him a chance to tell his side of the story.  He may have mitigating circumstances or a very different version of what happened.  His story may require further investigation or corroboration.  The supervisor may need to call other people in as witnesses or to contradict his version.

Fifth, after hearing his side of the story, the supervisor will decide what action to take and prepare the Record of Employee Counseling, CRI Form 103, describing the incident or problem, allowing the employee to offer any response, and providing a summary of the counseling or disciplinary action.

Last, the supervisor will present the employee with the Report and ask for his signature.  If he chooses not to sign, so note it.  Make sure the Report is complete.  Provide the employee with a copy; send one to the HR manager for inclusion in his Personnel File, and save one for the departmental files.

The key to successful disciplinary actions is good documentation.  Supervisors have two documentary tools at their disposal – Staff Notes and the Record of Employee Counseling.

  • Staff Notes are daily or weekly notes made about staff performance.  They should contain instances of tardiness, absences, failure to follow instructions and procedures, complaints, arguments or disputes with other staff, instances of outstanding performance, etc.  These brief notes are invaluable in helping a supervisor reconstruct circumstances, give details in review sessions, or document continuing disciplinary problems of a minor nature.
  • Records of Employee Counseling are used for formal documentation of problems when the supervisor wishes to give the employee a copy.  These reports must be filled out completely and accurately.  If the supervisor fails to enter a date, fails to sign it, fails to present it to the employee, or fails to get his signature or note “chose not to sign,” the record may be useless as documentary evidence.

Right to Respond. Each employee subject to a disciplinary action or unsatisfactory performance review has a right to respond.  Such response should come within 7 days of the report or review.  Supervisors should consider the response, amend the report or review if warranted, and attach the response without alteration to all copies of the disciplinary report or review (personnel file copy and departmental copy).

Choosing Not to Sign. Employees are requested to sign all disciplinary reports and performance reviews, but have an absolute right not to sign.  The absence of the employee’s signature will not affect the validity of the document, so long as the supervisor notes that it was presented to him.  If an employee chooses not to sign, the supervisor does this by writing “chose not to sign” and the date on the signature line.  The words “refused to sign” should not be used as this connotes coercion or lack of choice.

One of the questions posed by supervisors with any employee disciplinary issue is “OK, so he cleans his act up for a time, but then at some later point, it starts up again.  What do I do then?”  The answer as usual depends on circumstances.

If his behavior has been exemplary for a number of months and then there is one instance of the offending behavior without a reasonable excuse, you may decide to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Certainly you may do this, but don’t miss the opportunity to sit him down again, remind him of the consequences should he do it again, and document the session.

You may also decide in light of any number of issues – poor attitude, sloppy work, lack of teamwork, unwillingness to go above and beyond requirements, complaints received, member feedback, lethargic work performance, etc., that you’ll discharge him.  This is also defensible, though the longer the period of time between this and his last offense, might cause the reasonable person to consider another, fresher warning.

If during the same period the employee had other documented incidents of misconduct and generally unsatisfactory performance, this would provide all the necessary cause to discharge the employee.

If in doubt, you should always seek the advice of the Human Resources Manager or General Manager.

– excerpted from Employee Development and Discipline on the Go

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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