Here are some of the main things to consider, when writing a procedure that is supposed to help staff members know when they have behaviors or performance problems that need to change or be corrected.
First, church leadership must make sure every staff member understands expectations. This is done in many ways including the job description, strategic plan (including mission, vision, values, and key objectives), staff policy manual, etc.
When a staff member is not meeting said expectations, they must be told about it. This should happen long before their behavior becomes a problem. I’ve often said, “A staff member should never be surprised by anything they see on their annual review.” As leaders, it is our responsibility to give feedback to those in our charge.
However, if after a few conversations a staff member is just not “getting it,” it’s time to take some action. Again, as the leader of the team or organization, it’s incumbent upon you to take action when a team member is not carrying their load or otherwise not performing. The rest of the team will form opinions about you as a leader partially, at least, based on how you deal with performance issues.
The corrective action process is basically a “3 strikes and you’re out” deal. It begins with a “Verbal Warning” that clearly spells out the issue(s) and what is expected in terms of improvement, including a timeline. There’s a follow-up meeting date set. The staff member signs the form and off you go.
If significant improvement isn’t seen by the follow-up date, you escalate the corrective action to a “Written Warning.” The written warning is strike 2. It looks a lot like the verbal warning and has basically the same content. It’s just understood that it is the next step in the process. Also, the follow-up time date should probably be a little closer.
If by the follow-up date significant improvement isn’t seen, you go to a “Final Written Warning.” That’s strike 3. This warning sets a date for termination if major improvement isn’t seen. I guess you could call it strike 4, but when the date comes this time you’re having the termination discussion.
This is the basic process. Keep one thing in mind. The objective is not to let people go. In fact, it’s the opposite. If an organization has a good corrective action process in place, that everyone knows about, most of the time people will deal with whatever it is they need to correct.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind. If the staff member doesn’t “agree” that they have improvement that’s needed, you’re wasting your time. They will not change unless they agree change is needed.