Corrective and Preventative Actions are a responsibility of managers on a regular basis for all industries and are part of the core foundation to a successful operation. There is often a level of confusion as to the difference between corrective action and preventative action. A breakdown and separation of these is shown here (corrective vs. preventative) by asq.org. Incorporate each of these actions properly and consistently.
Effective managers will focus first, on the preventative actions to limit the next step.
- · Set policies and performance expectations explained and signed off by associates
- · Policies and expectations to be revisited on a regular basis to keep them fresh in the associates’ minds
- · One on one coaching sessions to ensure understanding of the expectations by the associate
- · Violations of policies or failure to meet productivity expectations must be addressed immediately
- · Leadership team must set example of policy and productivity expectations
When corrective action becomes a necessary, make this as formalized a process as an interview. Start with a corrective action plan. I recommend reviewing the plan designed by Northwestern University Research (corrective-action-plan). Note: it is the delivery of the action that will determine the success or failure of the plan.
- 1. Write out the action plan prior to the meeting with the associate
- 2. Ensure that the meeting is held in a private and quiet location to allow uninterrupted privacy
- 3. Set the tone and agenda by explaining how the meeting will progress
- 4. Keep a confident and calm demeanor while maintaining an non-judgmental position
- 5. Explain the facts of the situation as known
- 6. Ask the associate to verify the facts presented
- 7. Allow the associate their time to speak but, ensure that they stay on topic and reiterate that facts are the only things to be discussed, keeping emotions and personal issues limited
- 8. State the policy or performance expectations agreed to, and where the associate failed to meet them so that it is clear that the responsibility is on the employee (not blame, accountability)
- 9. Deliver the documentation to the associate, or ensure that they are told that documentation will be coming regarding this situation
- 10. End the meeting firmly but, cordially
The largest challenge that new managers and managers that have not had training often face, is not being able to remove themselves from the disciplinary process. Using statements of ‘writing someone up’ is counterproductive to the actual goal of correcting the situation. This is where the preventative action, addressed earlier proves invaluable. When an associate has signed off on policies, has had them reiterated with offers of additional explanation and assistance but still falls short, the responsibility is clearly theirs so they are writing themselves up. A manager’s job is to make sure that their associates have all the training, tools and understanding to complete their assigned tasks. Having supplied these and success is not achieved, the manager’s role is then of delivering the message that, the associate is not living up to the expectations that they agreed to and signed off, by them, as proof of agreement. By taking the role of the messenger, rather than the disciplinarian the manager has set the stage, showing that the responsibility is with the associate. When delivered right, the associate will take that responsibility and will make the necessary changes to achieve the level of success that is expected. This is the goal of the manager, to assist in the success of their associates by properly using the tools of corrective and preventative action.