How to Write Up an Employee
Owning a restaurant means managing people. Employees are just one example of a group of people you must manage. After interviewing and hiring an employee, it is important to let them know what your expectations are during their employment.
During the orientation process it is a good business practice to provide the employee with either a physical copy of the employee handbook or a link to access your company employee handbook on your restaurant or businesses website.
The employee handbook should be as detailed as possible and attempt to address every possible scenario, although this is probably not possible. The employee handbook should address rules and the policies and procedures of your restaurant.
To avoid neglecting areas to address with the employee, so they do not claim ignorance in case of future poor misguided decision making, it would be wise to make a checklist of what to cover during orientation.
Each employee should sign a form acknowledging that they received a copy of the employee handbook. On this form, both the employee and manager should sign. That way, if a problem occurs in the future, they cannot claim they didn’t receive the employee handbook.
Once a problem occurs with an employee, that demands they receive a reprimand, or an employee warning notice, here are the steps to follow:
- Give the employee the benefit of the doubt. Hearsay is not a reliable source, so try your best to get the truth about the infraction. Chances are, if more than one person says the same thing, something wrong happened.
- The policy for infractions should include a verbal warning, first write up and second write up. After that, termination is the consequence. This policy should be in writing and use an employee write up form and each employee should know this at orientation.
- Once you determine a person needs to be written up, document the infraction and put a copy of it in their employee file. Each employee should sign the infraction form, but if they refuse, make sure you have a witness in the room during the reprimand to verify the employee is aware of the note being placed in their file.
- Establish a timeframe to follow up with the employee regarding the infraction. At the time of the follow up, you are trying to determine if the employee’s behavior improved or declined. Take the appropriate action based on their behavior.
Having a paper trail that documents employee reprimands is important. In case you have to suspend or terminate an employee, if a lawsuit or unemployment claim arises, you have proof of what happened. This protects you as the employer.