Short post today about an important topic.
Is Corrective Action a Death Sentence?
First, definitions for some of my readers who aren't HR pros. Corrective Action is a formal process where you tell an employee, usually in a written document that is delivered in a formal meeting with a witness - that their performance is below standards and unless they improve, they likely will be removed from the company in time.
Corrective Action is usually a three to four step process in most companies. It's designed to reduce legal liability in firing someone, even in "at-will" employment environments.
Back to the question - Is Corrective Action a Death Sentence?
Well, that depends Sparky - what type of manager are you anyway?
Here's what corrective action means to the players involved:
The Company - "the employee in question isn't going to make it."
The Employee him/herself - "I need to look for another job."
Who's missing? Oh yeah... The manager. What corrective action means to the manager depends on what type of manager you are:
The manager as coach - to this type of manager, corrective action is just a escalated tool to show an employee they've been coaching that things are esclating.
The manager as bureaucrat - this type of manager isn't a coach and may in fact be a bit of a coward. He/she hasn't really coached the employee from the heart, so when they show up with a formal corrective action document, the employee feels like he needs a lawyer. Of course, they don't have that right.
Again, back to the question - Is Corrective Action a Death Sentence?
Corrective Action is never a death sentence to the manager who's an effective coach. That manager is going to keep coaching for improvement and wants the employee to recover. They've used corrective action to show the urgency and hope is turns around. Unfortunately, to all other types of managers, corrective action IS a death sentence - because if you aren't actively coaching, your struggling employee has no shot at turning it around.
Which one are you?