“Getting Accountability Right” bonus content : Nursing Management

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“Getting Accountability Right” bonus content

Nursing Management (Springhouse) 49(9):p 1-3, September 2018. | DOI: 10.1097/01.NUMA.0000546280.94199.ef
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Accountability pocket card

Useful phrases

  • Help me understand how this fits with our agreement.
  • Walk me through your train of thought.
  • What do you think needs to happen so that this is resolved?
  • If you had this to do over again, what would you do differently?
  • This behavior doesn't sound like the you who I know. What's really going on here?
  • The decisions that you make will then determine the decisions that I'll need to make.
  • I want you to be successful with this, so what needs to happen next?
  • I know what I've said, but tell me what you heard because that's what matters most.
  • What should I expect the next time you make a commitment?
  • What part of this is yours (or ours) to own? How are you (or we) helping this happen?
  • What do I need to do differently to get your attention?

DEAF model for providing feedback

Describe the behavior.

Explain the impact.

Ask for what you need.

Follow up with praise or a crucial conversation.

Key points

  • Expect growth and not perfection.
  • Deal with key offenders first because this sends a message to others.
  • Buy time to get emotions lowered.
  • Don't belittle, scold, or use sarcasm; this undermines trust.
  • People do what they do because it works; if you want to change what they do, make sure what they do no longer works.
  • We teach people how to treat us; you get what you tolerate.
Corrective Action Process

Associate Conduct and Disciplinary Action

Alternative Corrective Action

Policy Statement: Alternative corrective actions are an optimal, nontraditional approach to employee discipline, and provide for a variety of methods to correct behavioral issues. Employees may be offered a choice of negotiating an alternative action in lieu of discipline. In cases where the only appropriate penalty is termination or where the misconduct is egregious, this alternative to formal discipline shall not be used. Alternative corrective actions don't become part of the employee's permanent record.

Conditions and Procedures: Supervisors who administer alternative corrective actions shall use the following criteria:

  • The misconduct warrants a penalty less than formal discipline or termination.
  • The deciding manager determines that corrective action has a good probability of preventing further misconduct.
  • The employee either self-initiates an awareness of the issue or admits to being engaged in the identified misconduct, accepts responsibility for it, and agrees not to repeat the misconduct.
  • The employees agrees to waive any and all rights to grieve, appeal, complain, or otherwise contest actions taken as a result of the corrective action; there's no requirement to initiate formal written disciplinary procedures; however, supervisors have the option of completing a disciplinary action through the decision phase and then enter into an alternative corrective action agreement. If the employee violates the terms of the alternative corrective action agreement, one of two options exist:
    1. Impose an already decided upon penalty that was held in abeyance.
    2. Initiate formal disciplinary action up to and including termination upon violation of the agreement.

Alternative Corrective Action Agreements

May be in the form of the following:

Verbal Discussion: between the employee and the supervisor. There can be several of these.

Corrective Interview: used when the infractions continue. This is a formal meeting in which the objective is to develop a written agreement or action plans to ensure future infractions don't occur.

Self-Assessment Leave: One day with pay for the employee to rethink his or her work habits. A self-assessment leave would be expected to occur once in the employee's career. A repeat would mean termination. It's expected the employee would sign a “work performance improvement plan” after this leave. If not, he or she would be terminated.

FORMAL DISCIPLINARY ACTION: Taken in the form of a written warning or termination as outlined in HR Policy 700.1(a).

The Department Manager/Supervisor is responsible for:

  • Informing the employee of the standards of conduct that he or she is failing to meet; counseling the employee to avoid situations that might result in a need for formal disciplinary action.
  • Keeping systematic records for events, dates, and discussions with employees, concerning a matter with the potential for developing into a disciplinary problem.
  • Deciding to discipline and determining the penalty when preventive measures aren't successful.
  • Determining whether alternative discipline in lieu of formal disciplinary action is appropriate.
  • Consulting with the Employee Relations Manager before proposing written disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Human Resources will review documentation and advise the manager on the appropriate course to take. Human Resources may assist in the preparation of a corrective action agreement or termination.

Guidelines for Associate in Preparing Letter of Commitment

  • State the reason you're writing the letter (define what the problem is).
  • State what you're going to do to correct (not improve) the situation.
  • State your commitment to the organization, the department, and your job.
  • State what you expect your Supervisor to do should you not correct the problem.

This letter will be maintained in the Supervisor's departmental file and not be part of the Human Resources file.


If you can't make a commitment to change, you may write a letter of voluntary resignation and your Supervisor will process the necessary termination paperwork.

Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.