A client recently called with an employee relations issue, not unusual as this occurs many times throughout the day. The employee (manager) in question did not complete four duties that were necessary for the business.

We always ask questions to understand context about this situation;
– When was the person hired?
– What is their position history with the company?
– What types of performance evaluations have they had over the years?
– What types of corrective action have they had over the years?
– What is the situation and what would you ultimately like to do?

On this particular occasion, the question regarding past corrective action was quite interesting. The manager in question had four corrective actions in the file; one verbal warning for attendance, two written warnings for poor behavior and “borrowing money”, and a final warning for poor judgement. I asked the operations leader why the person was still with the company. Some of the situations that occurred were egregious and could have resulted in termination. The operations leader said “I don’t know”? He said I asked for advice and this was what I was told to do but in hindsight that probably was not the correct decision.

I told the operations leader, you cannot change the past but we can impact the future. Given the circumstances of the current offense and their prior history it is time to redirect their career elsewhere.

What struck me in this situation was the comment “in hindsight that probably was not the correct decision”. GROUNDHOG DAY!! If you have ever seen this iconic movie, Bill Murray keeps repeating the same day until he gets it right. When faced with any situation but particularly an employee relations challenge, what if we asked ourselves the question “If I reviewed this situation in one year would this decision be the right course of action”? When I asked the operations leader this question, he said “Absolutely not. We should have made the tough call when he borrowed money from the company as this was a clear indication of character”. That is correct! The employee already indicated a pattern of behavior and this occurrence was more of the same.

I would rather second guess my decision in the moment instead of in the future. We all second guess and then blame ourselves down the road “I should have or I shouldn’t have”! Instead ask yourself, “If I reviewed this situation in one year would this decision be the right course of action”? This easy question can help avoid Groundhog Day in your life and in your company.