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Disciplinary Writeups

AngelTrack's incident system can take over the bookkeeping involved in disciplinary writeups.

Train Supervisors to Use the Incident System

Your supervisors are probably accustomed to using paper for disciplinary writeups and signatures. So, first order of business is to migrate them over. Throw away all remaining paper write-up forms, and post an announcement explaining the policy change:

Starting today, all disciplinary reports and/or writeups will be created as AngelTrack Incidents, instead of the old paper forms.

After completing the preliminary writeup, leave the incident unassigned if you want HR to triage it to the appropriate supervisor; otherwise, assign the incident to the appropriate person.

If accusing an employee of misconduct, write a preliminary incident asking, not accusing, the employee to explain what happened. Then assign the incident to the employee, along with instructions to write a statement and then send the incident back.

Proper Sequence of Events

The proper sequence of events for a disciplinary writeup is:

  1. Preliminary writeup seeking information
  2. Employee statement
  3. Supervisor findings
  4. Management action

A Warning About Signature Collection

When AngelTrack collects a signature from blamed employees, those employees are shown all of the following information from the incident record: that they are fully aware of what they are signing. If you intend to add confidential information to the incident, do so after signature collection, not before.

No Witness Signature Needed

Traditional writeup forms include a space for a witness signature, in the event the employee refuses to sign. AngelTrack does not collect witness signatures because it can already attest that the employee in question was shown the incident and subseqently refused to sign.

AngelTrack does not permit the employee to make use of any other AngelTrack features until he or she either:

The date and time of signing or refusal is captured for later reference.

Permanent Electronic Storage

Angeltrack will store the incident forever, with links to the employees' files (in AngelTrack), as well as the files of any blamed vehicle, facility, patient. It is not necessary to print out a hard copy.

That said, if your operation also maintains paper employee files in the HR department, and if the people who use those files are unaware of AngelTrack, then paper copies of the incident should be placed in employee files.

A Short Story to Read Before Firing Someone

If an employee causes an expensive accident and you are considering termination, read the following story before making your final decision...

The great aviation pioneer Howard Hughes flew himself to and from business meetings, for the sheer joy of flying. One particular day he planned to do exactly this, and so phoned ahead to the airfield to have his personal airplane brought out of the hangar and refueled for the trip.

Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes in California in 1940
[Library of Congress]

The trip was expected to be two hours outbound and then two hours returning, so a total of four hours' worth of fuel (about 40 gallons) was required. Small airplanes at the time (1940s) did not have fuel gauges; therefore, before each trip, the anticipated fuel load is calculated and added to the airplane. They do not fill the tanks to full if they do not anticipate needing full tanks, because fuel is heavy.

Howard reached the airport, parked his car, did a quick walkaround of the aircraft, and then took off for his destination.

An hour and a half into the flight, the airplane unexpectedly ran out of fuel. The fuel load had been miscalculated.

Howard had to land in a farmer's field. The rough ground wrecked the airplane, but Howard was okay. He walked to the nearby farmhouse and called for a ride back home.

When he finally got back to the airport, he summoned the young man who had refueled his airplane. The young man had already heard what'd happened, and was terrified to answer for crashing (and almost killing) the legendary Howard Hughes.

The young man entered Howard's office, quivering in fright.

Howard said:

"You are now in charge of all refueling operations for all of my aircraft here."

"W-why?" the young man managed to answer.

"Because you are the only person here that I am certain will not make that mistake."

When an employee makes an expensive mistake, if you can see that the mistake was made in good faith, then you now have an employee who is guaranteed to never make that particular mistake again. Think of the cost of the mistake as a training expense.

Of course it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between bad luck versus negligence... and probably every accident contains a little of both. Nobody can tell you how to handle each unique situation, but keep this story in mind when making your decision.

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