Performance Management Communication Tools

Good communication between all members of a work team is one of the most critical aspects of creating and maintaining a positive and productive work environment.  A supervisor should insure that each employee is aware of the standards and expectations for the employee’s position, as well as the work standards and practices that apply to employees in that department and to all employees of the university.

A continuous flow of open communication between supervisors and employees is essential to a healthy workplace.  As soon as a supervisor becomes aware of a problem, the supervisor should bring it to the employee’s attention so that it can be resolved at the earliest possible opportunity.  Addressing a problem as soon as it is apparent is always a positive step for both the supervisor and the employee.  It allows the supervisor to establish that the behavior or performance is not acceptable, gives the employee the guidance and direction to make a positive change and correct the situation, and helps to prevent future performance and disciplinary problems.

A supervisor’s approach is to foster a workplace in which employees work to promote the interest of the university’s mission and goals.  Human resources is committed to developing and maintaining a workplace of dignity and respect for our employees, whom we consider to be our most important assets.

Disciplinary measures should be utilized in an attempt to correct the deficient behavior and should be constructive and consistent. The employees should be given an opportunity to explain their actions, either verbally or in writing.

Verbal Corrective Action

A verbal corrective action is documentation of a conversation between a supervisor and an employee, held in private, about a disciplinary problem.  This is issued to get the attention of the employee and to identify the problem and the expected corrective action.  Employees should be specifically told that they are receiving a verbal warning, the reasons for such warning and guidance on the correct or expected behavior.

The verbal warning should be documented in writing with a copy provided to the employee and the original forwarded to human resources for the employee’s official personnel file.  It should point out that future behavior of a similar nature may result in more serious disciplinary action.

Written Corrective Action

A written warning is used after a verbal warning has been given and appropriate change in behavior/performance has not resulted, or as the first step in progressive discipline if the severity of the infraction warrants.  Human Resources suggest the FOSA+ method, from the book Documenting Discipline (Deblieux, 1995).

F Facts to define the problem
O Objectives to explain to the employee how to resolve the problem
Solutions that can help the employee reach the objectives
A Actions you will take if the problem is not corrected
+ Plus your overall efforts to help the employee succeed.


  1. A written warning formally places the employee on notice that corrective action must be taken.
  2. The employee should acknowledge receipt of the written warning by signing and dating it.  If the employee refuses to sign, a notation of the refusal must be made on the warning.  It is important to let the employee know his/her signature does not indicate agreement, just receipt.  Provide a copy of the warning to the employee.  
  3. The original document is forwarded to human resources to be placed in the employee’s official personnel file.  
  4. If the employee provides a written response, it is attached to the warning and forwarded to the personnel file.

Corrective action is all about the success of the employee - it is not about setting the employee up for failure or discharge. The goal of corrective action is to provide the employee with the tools and guidance they need to succeed in the job.