A handy guide for managing informal discussions with employees in a structured and coherent way.
Do you have someone who isn’t quite doing the right thing, or has randomly turned up to work late today without explanation? Have you already spoken with the person about an issue and they haven’t changed their ways?
You could commence a formal consultation resulting in a formal warning, we recommend the use of a Record of Discussion form to address minor misdemeanours and adhoc issues which don't necessarily warrant disciplinary action.
These forms are useful for providing a structure to a meeting, setting clear expectations, and lay the groundwork for any future disciplinaries.
This article looks at what the form is, why you should use it, and how to use it.
What is this form?
The record of discussion is a simple one-page document that is used to, well, record a discussion. It's a formal form for an informal process and allows managers to clearly structure a discussion and set expectations.
Using this form allows you to keep notes of what was discussed, what agreed outcomes are and can be relied upon if disciplinary action is required down the track.
You can find this in your MyBusiness space > My Files > Record of Discussion.
If you need help using this form, please call us on 0800 69 47 69 or use the chat function.
Why should I use it?
There are many times when jumping straight into a disciplinary process isn't fair or reasonable. Furthermore, a strong disciplinary case will have a solid background/pattern of behaviour (this excludes cases of serious misconduct).
The record of discussion form helps establish this paper trail.
We have found when relying on verbal warnings during a disciplinary, employees claim the discussion never happened, so the form does away with any of these types of disputes. In addition, a recorded discussion in this format meets the test of being a fair and reasonable process, whereas verbal warnings have been found to be unlawful and should not be relied upon when further disciplinary is warranted.
As a conversation using a Record of Discussion form is not a formal consultation, you do not need to provide the employee with time to consider your views/have a support person at the meeting. However, do consider this on a case-by-case basis, for instance, if you have an employee who doesn’t think well on the spot, or an employee who always has a support person present at meetings due to anxiety, we recommend considering providing them with the option to have additional time to consider what you have said, before providing their views or a support person present. Depending on the nature of the issues discussed, a Record of Discussion may be valid for a period of 6 to 12 months.
How do I use it?
- Go to your MyHR > My Business > Record of Discussion folder to download a form.
- Meet with the employee. Clearly explain your concerns, with examples. Talk about how this issue causes problems for other people on the shift, or for later shifts, and ultimately how hurts your business operations.
- Listen to their feedback; they may have a fair and reasonable explanation, or they may give you information that you didn’t know. Alternatively, they may grumble and complain, or not have a good explanation at all.
- Describe what you want to be different, and what success looks like. Agree what will happen next (e.g. they will stop taking long breaks, or they will be more proactive about finding work to do on their shift).
- Set a timeframe for improvement – anything from 2 days to 2 weeks may be appropriate,
depending on the issue.
- Make notes using this form as you go, once you’ve had the discussion, have the employee review your notes and sign to show that they agree it’s an accurate reflection of what was discussed.
Then upload it into MyHR. Email a copy to the employee for their records.
- At the end of the timeframe for improvement, catch up with the employee. If the behaviour has improved, great!!
- If the behaviour continues, escalate it by notifying MyHR, so that you can progress the situation and potentially begin a disciplinary process.
Remember, these forms do not replace giving verbal feedback on the spot, or managing your team as usual. Keep talking to your people!