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Productivity / Performance

Need to discipline employee? Prepare to back it up with contemporaneous records

Courts love to see good records that support employer discipline—records created at or very near the time events occurred. That’s why every manager needs to know how to document discipline and who gets a copy for later use.

6 tips to help managers approach–and turn around–poor performers

No manager enjoys having “the talk” with employees. But ignoring an employee’s poor performance won’t make the problem go away; it’ll only make things worse. Tell managers they can improve the odds for positive change by following these six rules of employee engagement:

Beware hasty discipline for FMLA leave-takers


Even legitimate discipline against a lousy employee can spell FMLA trouble if somehow that discipline happens more quickly than it did for other employees with similar disciplinary problems. Advice: Take your time when disciplining workers who have taken FMLA leave. It’s better to be right than fast.

How can I discipline exempt staff for poor work?

Q. After the holidays, our hourly employees returned to pre-holiday productivity. But our exempt employees didn’t. What can I do since their salaries aren’t dependent on how many hours they work?

The 6 biggest retention mistakes … and how to fix them

With unemployment still floating above 9%, it’s a bit easier to find good employees. But keeping the best people never has been and never will be easy. What can you do to keep them around? A recent Harvard Business Review pointed to these key retention mistakes and solutions to fix them:

Document efforts to help employee improve

Nothing makes an employer look better in court than clear proof that it tried to help a struggling employee improve her performance. That’s why you should keep track of those efforts.

Offer reasonable ADA accommodations–but you don’t have to provide full-time helper


It can be devastating when an employee becomes severely disabled in the prime of life, especially if it’s clear the disability means she will never be able to perform her old job without substantial assistance. Well-intentioned, compassionate employers try their best to help. But the tough question is how far they should go to accommodate the disabled employee’s restrictions.

Injured employee may have returned too soon: Can we require him to take more leave?

Q. We’re afraid that a previously injured worker returned from medical leave too soon. Can we require him to take additional leave if it’s obvious that the injury is still hurting his job performance?

Has the recession changed productivity expectations?

A full 86% of U.S. executives say their company demands more time and commitment from employees now than when the recession began, according to Deloitte’s 2010 Ethics & Workplace Survey.

Addressing performance problems: 7 steps to success

Talking with employees about performance problems can be uncomfortable for any manager. But it’s also a crucial part of the job and, if done well, will ultimately make a manager’s job much easier. Feel free to pass along these seven performance-improvement tips to your organization’s managers.