The goal of any corrective action is to change an employee's behavior to make him or her a more productive member of the team. You want the employee to stay and improve, not to get rid of him or her. Some employees require stronger corrective action than others, however, especially those who repeat performance problems after being previously counseled. When verbal counseling doesn't give you the desired results, the next step is a written warning in the form of an employee corrective action form.

What Is an Employee Corrective Action Form?

A corrective action form, also known as an employee counseling form, is used to officially inform an employee that he or she has broken a rule or violated a policy in the workplace. The first time it happens, often it's used as a warning, but it can also include disciplinary actions that will follow. The purpose of this form is to let the employee know that the behavior isn't appropriate in the workplace, it won't be tolerated in the future and that changes will have to be made immediately.

When Is a Corrective Action Form Needed?

You don't need to write up every employee every time they break rules or policies in the workplace. In most cases, verbal counseling is enough to inform the employee about the behavior and the need to change. For more serious problems, or for employees who repeat behaviors after already being verbally counseled, it's a good idea to fill out a corrective action form. These forms raise the correction to a higher level, and employees generally won't welcome the procedure. Also, if the disciplinary action goes to another level, you'll need the information on the form as a legal reference.

It's not enough to rely on your memory past a first verbal warning. To safeguard yourself and your company, it's best to put everything in writing and to have both parties involved sign the form after the counseling session.

What Should Be in a Corrective Action Form?

Your company may provide a corrective action notice template, in which case you can simply fill in the blanks to create a record of your employee disciplinary action. If you need to create a form from scratch, include these necessary details:

  • Information about the employee, including his name, the date and the name of his supervisor.
  • Details about the rule violation that occurred.
  • Details about the violation, such as the date and time and the place it occurred.
  • The supervisor's statement about the incident.
  • The employee's statement about the incident.
  • A listing of the action to be taken, such as days off without pay, suspension or demotion.
  • Information on previous incidents in this same category, including what disciplinary action was taken.
  • Signatures of both the employee and the supervisor.

Your employee may be reluctant to sign the form, thinking that it means an admission of guilt. Assure her that signing the form merely indicates an agreement that she was in the meeting and has heard and understood everything that went on during the meeting.