LAYOFFS & LAWSUITS
Are You Ready for an Economic Slowdown?
Although economists have been wrong in the past, this time it seems as if the majority of market observers are predicting a slowdown in the economy. What should business owners be doing to get ready for a potential downturn in business?
Historically, downturns often mean layoffs. One of the most important steps you can take now is catching up on performance feedback. Why the emphasis on documenting performance feedback?
If you’re going to use performance as a factor in determining who’s going to lose a job, you have to be able to demonstrate that performance issues have been documented. It’s a major defense against the discrimination charges that are often filed post-RIF’s.
Lack of documentation is a major problem
When preparing a defense, employment lawyers complain that 80% of the time there is no supporting evidence in the personnel or manager’s file. How can you show the appropriate performance designation if you don’t have any written records? Sometimes verbal records can be useful, but it is much more difficult to win with verbal records.
When you think about it, you can see why individuals file charges when they are told they were selected based on poor performance—yet they believe they were never given any negative feedback.
Performance documentation made easy
If your employee records don’t currently include performance documentation, here’s a technique you can use to augment them quickly:
- Hold a performance assessment meeting with your managers.
- Designate someone to take notes as each manager cites specific examples of both positive and negative performance for each employee.
- Managers should then sit-down with each employee to give the feedback coming out of those assessments.
- Senior management should follow up to make certain the feedback was given and understood by the employee.
Smart policy in good times and bad
The benefit of applying this process isn’t limited to avoiding lawsuits. Employees who receive positive feedback are often inspired to do even better. Clients who have followed this recommendation report improved performance all around.