If you are familiar with Mr. Hubbard’s management system, you know that he recognized that conditions in a business can be improved by applying certain specific and identified condition formulas. In an article entitled THE CONDITIONS, STATES OF OPERATION, he said:
"An organization or its parts or an individual passes through various states of existence. These, if not handled properly, bring about shrinkage and misery and worry and death. If handled properly they bring about stability, expansion, influence and well-being.
"These, arranged from highest to lowest, are:
" Normal Operation
The conditions he listed are operating states that exist in the physical universe. You have probably recognized them yourself. And the fact that something can be done about them.
You know when something is going along alright and is in a Normal condition—but do your employees know how to keep it humming along? When you have an abundance, there is an Affluence, and when things are beginning to nose dive there is likely a Danger condition that needs to be addressed. But do your employees know how to revert it? If you know Mr. Hubbard’s management model you know that by applying the various conditions formulas to the appropriate condition, you can bring the situation up and better the current condition.
Employees who are not familiar with this management model generally are unfamiliar with the fact that there are identifiable conditions, let alone that there are formulas to apply and steps to follow, to improve the condition. In fact, many employees do not even have the viewpoint that they can take any action to change a condition they are in. They blame the economy, the weather, the traffic, their boss. The idea of being personally responsible for an area at work is often a new one which employees working in a company using this management system need to wrap their wits around.
This is where employee training comes in and, as WISE members know, various courses, programs and seminars exist which employees can study to learn about the conditions, their formulas, and how to apply them on the job. Unfortunately, sometimes business owners try to apply this technology without proper explanation or introduction to Mr. Hubbard’s management system. An example of this would be assigning a poorly performing employee a Danger condition when the employee does not even know what a condition is.
Additionally, there are some tips from the human resources world that need to be kept in mind, legally. First, whenever you terminate an employee’s employment, there is always the risk that the employee will claim that you let him or her go for an unlawful reason, usually a discriminatory or retaliatory reason. Because of this possibility, it is important that each termination is substantiated by business reasons (which are documented and can be proved). Employee terminations must not only be free from discriminatory motives, but they also must not appear to be discriminatory. For example, if you let an employee go right after she announces she is pregnant or he advises he needs cancer surgery, it will certainly look like discrimination – even if it is not.
WHAT TO DO:
Employers are well advised to do the following, which is called “performance management” in the human resources world:
- When you hire new employees, advise them of expectations through job descriptions, employee handbook, and position hat packs.
- Speak with employees when they are not meeting expectations to advise them of the issue, provide training/counseling where needed or reference the applicable policy or portion of their hat pack.
- Document those meetings or conversations with memos to file and e-mails/memos to the employee.
- Provide employees with opportunities to improve.
- If an employee’s production statistics are downtrending (and the employee has been trained on the conditions formulas) use the correct condition formula to help them improve.
- Should the employee fail to improve their performance and meet expectations, stiffen the gradient (e.g., provide a written warning) and ensure they understand the consequences for failing to perform.
- Pre-set progressive discipline policies may work against employers—make sure you have discretion to treat each situation as warranted by the specific facts. (You want to be able to fire the thief on the spot for example.)
- When it is clear the employee is not going to make it, they should see the handwriting on the wall (how long this takes varies). No termination should come as a surprise. Employees are more likely to bring legal claims when they feel broadsided by a termination. Be sure it has been made clear what expectations are not being met.
- Consult with an employment lawyer who represents businesses when you have any questions regarding the risks posed by employee terminations.
Using conditions formulas with hatted employees and applying human resources basics of performance management will help you assist your employees to perform while providing protections for your company when you consider letting poorly performing employees go.