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Supervisory Training – Identification and Data Documentation of Behaviors
In continuing with the Supervisor training articles. This will identify areas of behaviors that a trained supervisor should be aware. It will also identify the primary areas where documentation should be done to protect not on the supervisor but the company from an unwarranted lawsuit.
There are some on the job behaviors that need to be identified in several areas of the work place. Most of these behaviors can be categorized into three dominant areas.
The first and primary category is work performance. Why this category is primary is that many of the-job behaviors and work habits of employees that can directly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of a task accomplishment.
Some of the key things to look for in this area are:
- Work productivity;
- Lack of good judgement;
- Efficiency coupled with concentration on doing the task correctly;
- Adherence to company policy;
- Taking risks when not needed or allowed; and
Another area of concern is social interactions, especially with the employee peers. This can have an impact on team performance and can affect how they behave in the workplace. The type and quality of relationships with fellow workers is important and should be observed.
Again some of the things to look for are:
- Observable changes in the identification of friends or associates;
- Changes in how other people or worker react to that person being in their presence;
- Mood changes or angers more frequently and that includes manipulation of others;
- Changes in speech patterns or behavior; and
- Non-justified complaints
The third area of concern that a supervisor is personal health of an individual. This does not mean that the supervisor is a diagnostician but can make some outward observations of the individual. This can be physical or emotional states that can affect work behavior. Some of these can include:
- Signs of nervousness or constantly being emotionally upset;
- Is there a pattern in the use of alcohol and or prescription drug(s);
- The energy level of the individual; and
- Changes in the general appearance.
Supervisors need to document any and all observation. That documentation should include the date, time and location of the observation. All of this should be put on paper right away and not trusted to memory. This information is of assistance for further evaluation of the employee by a trained counselor. Supervisors are cautioned not to make evaluations but to document the information objectively. When the data has been documented, then assistance should be sought from the Employee Assistance Program.
There are some things that a supervisor should not do. Those points are:
1. The supervisor should not play the role of "amateur diagnostician." The supervisor is not necessarily qualified to judge whether an employee is an "alcoholic." The supervisor must stick to job performance. Do not moralize.
2. The supervisor should not discuss whether or not any employees has a "drinking problem" or attempt to counsel them in this regard.
3. The supervisor should not recommend termination of an employee of a previously satisfactory employee without first offering help through the Employee Assistance Program if it’s not possible the poor performance is the result of emotionally based personal behavior problems.
4. The supervisor must not engage in any "cover-up" activities regarding any "problem employee."
It is recognized that not all of the above items may be pertinent and certainly is not inclusive as there may be other factors in place. Supervisors may have their own processes and procedures in place for identifying and dealing with “troubled” employees that may have a substance abuse problem or the misuse of alcohol along with other issues than can impact workplace performance.
This completes this series and should be of benefit to the supervisors.
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