Surprises in the Drawer

“I have an employee who went on a leave of absence and others needed to complete or do his work. However, based on what we’ve found, we don’t want him back!”

Your HR Survival Tip

Once an employee is on leave, a fairly high percentage of managers are surprised to learn the employee did not complete assignments, tasks, or projects. In a flash, your feelings toward that employee change and you dread their return. However, it’s illegal to use this surprise to prevent his return.

The biggest question to ask yourself is how this happened. Why did you only discover the employee’s failures when they were off work? Many times when we hear complaints from companies about what they’ve discovered, they are upset at the employee for not doing the job. However, let’s turn that question around and ask why it takes digging through an absent employee’s files to discover that the employee isn’t doing the job.

Rather than blame the employee, it may be time to look at your training, protocols, and processes. Do you have checks and balances in place to ensure that required (and necessary) work is actually being completed? Have you ever randomly looked through a project folder and reviewed the work? Are you holding people accountable for their tasks and assignments? In other words, how are you making sure the work is being done and done to your standards?

It’s easy to throw blame around but it’s a company’s management team who creates the processes, trains the employees, and expects results. If you were teaching employees how to do a complicated dance move, you’d be able to witness the employee’s stumbling and understand they didn’t quite have it down yet. However, you hand them a complicated job to do, then nod and walk away. What if they are stumbling when you aren’t looking?

Many industries have random audits of one type or another. Protect your company by considering what types of audits (aka checks and balances) you might implement. Not only will this ensure necessary work is being done but that it’s being completed with the consistency you need and want.

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