What is Corrective Action?

Jeffrey Fermin
Jeffrey Fermin
March 10, 2023
4 Min Read
What is Corrective Action?

In any organization, mistakes and errors can happen, leading to undesired outcomes. These can range from minor issues to significant problems that can affect the business's overall performance. To tackle such issues, organizations implement corrective action procedures.

What is Corrective Action?

Corrective action is a fundamental process that is used to address and resolve issues and problems that occur in the workplace. It involves identifying the root cause of the problem, developing and implementing a plan to address it, and monitoring progress to ensure that the problem does not recur.

The purpose of corrective action in performance management is to provide employees with feedback on their performance, help them improve their skills and behaviors, and align their performance with organizational goals and objectives. Corrective action can take several forms, such as coaching, training, performance improvement plans, or disciplinary action.

Establishing a Corrective Action Plan

Here are some steps that can help you develop an effective corrective action plan:

  • Identify the problem: Start by identifying the specific performance or behavior issue that needs to be addressed. This could be based on feedback from managers, colleagues, or customers, or it may be based on your own observations.
  • Define the desired outcome: Determine what you want to achieve through the corrective action plan. This could include specific performance goals, behavior changes, or other outcomes that will address the underlying issue.
  • Develop an action plan: Identify the steps that need to be taken to achieve the desired outcome. This may include coaching, training, providing additional resources, or making other adjustments to help the employee improve. Set specific timelines and milestones for each step.
  • Assign responsibility: Determine who will be responsible for implementing the corrective action plan, whether it's the employee, their supervisor, or another member of the team.
  • Monitor progress: Regularly review the employee's progress toward achieving the desired outcome. This may involve feedback from managers, colleagues, or customers, as well as regular check-ins with the employee.
  • Adjust the plan if necessary: If the corrective action plan is not achieving the desired outcome, make adjustments as needed. This may include revising the action plan, providing additional support or resources, or taking other steps to help the employee succeed.
  • Evaluate the results: Once the corrective action plan is complete, evaluate the results to determine if the desired outcome was achieved. Use this feedback to inform future performance management and employee development efforts.

By following these steps, you can develop a well-designed corrective action plan that helps employees improve their performance or behavior and contributes to the overall success of the organization.

Examples of Corrective Action in Human Resources

Corrective action in human resources refers to the steps taken to address employee performance or behavior that is not meeting expectations. Here are some examples of corrective actions that can be taken in human resources:

Verbal warning: If an employee is not meeting performance standards, a supervisor or manager may provide a verbal warning to the employee to address the issue. The warning should include a clear explanation of the problem, expectations for improvement, and consequences for not improving.

Written warning: If the employee's performance does not improve after a verbal warning, a written warning may be issued. The written warning should include the same information as the verbal warning, as well as a timeline for improvement and consequences for not meeting the expectations.

Performance improvement plan (PIP): A PIP is a formal document that outlines specific steps an employee must take to improve their performance. The plan should include measurable goals, a timeline for improvement, and consequences for not meeting the goals.

Suspension: If an employee's behavior is particularly egregious, such as violating a company policy or engaging in harassment, a supervisor or manager may choose to suspend the employee as a corrective action. The suspension should be accompanied by a clear explanation of the reasons for the suspension and expectations for improvement upon returning to work.

Termination: In some cases, termination may be the appropriate corrective action if an employee's performance or behavior does not improve after other corrective actions have been taken. The termination should be accompanied by a clear explanation of the reasons for termination and documentation of the steps taken to address the issue.

Difference Between Corrective Action & Disciplinary Action

Corrective action and disciplinary action are two different approaches that employers can use to address performance or behavior issues with employees.

Corrective action is a process of identifying and addressing the root cause of a problem or non-conformance in an employee's performance or behavior, with the goal of preventing the issue from recurring. It is a proactive approach that focuses on identifying and correcting the underlying cause of the issue, rather than punishing the employee. Corrective action may involve coaching, training, providing additional resources, or making other adjustments to help the employee improve.

Disciplinary action, on the other hand, is a process of imposing penalties or consequences for an employee's failure to meet job expectations or comply with workplace policies or procedures. It is a reactive approach that focuses on holding the employee accountable for their actions and ensuring that they understand the seriousness of the situation.

Disciplinary action may involve reprimands, warnings, suspension, demotion, or termination of employment. While corrective action and disciplinary action may sometimes overlap, they are fundamentally different. Corrective action is designed to help employees improve their performance or behavior, while disciplinary action is designed to impose consequences for failing to meet expectations. In general, employers will typically use corrective action to address performance issues before moving to disciplinary action, unless the employee's conduct is serious enough to warrant immediate disciplinary action.

How are you organizing any corrective action documentation?

Consider using AllVoices as your employee relations tool, to have one location where all of this data lives. Feel free to schedule a demo today.

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