CAN. Phone: (403) 984‑0114 | U.S. Phone: (480) 840‑7323

When Employees Don’t Perform, Here Is What to Do…
The Progressive Management Process

Most managers dislike having to deal with employees who are not performing up to standards more than anything else. They would rather spend their time on activities such as setting goals, reviewing progress, and eliminating problems employees experience as they strive to complete their work. However, it is a part of the job that should not be avoided.

From a company perspective, an employee reprimand demonstrates that the company was working with the employee to help him or her improve. At the same time, the company documented its increasing unhappiness with the employee’s performance. The written employee reprimand shows that the employee was also informed of the performance problems and their consequence if they remained uncorrected.

Progressive management, such as an employee reprimand, can be a win-win if the employee heeds the message. If the employee does not, the company and the manager have effectively protected their interests – and the interests of employees who are performing satisfactorily. The goal is to prevent a negative impact on performing employees whose morale is affected by the employee who is not doing his or her job.

Progressive Management Steps

When an employee is not performing as expected there are 4 steps we recommend you follow to ensure the process is fair to the employee and documented in a way the company is protected should the employee ignore this opportunity to improve.

  1. Verbal Warning – This is the first communication to the employee about the problem. This should be done in private and positioned as an opportunity for them to improve. This should be documented by the manager.
  2. Verbal Written Warning –  If the employee does not improve there may be a need to give them a second verbal warning. This time the manager will follow up the verbal conversation with a written account for the employees file. This written account is for internal purposes only and to be referenced for future memo’s if the employee does not improve. It is not presented to the employee.
  3. Written May Memo – This is the first formal written communication to the employee that lays out what the consequences may be if they do not improve.
  4. Written Will Memo – This is the final written communication before termination or suspension. This memo communicates to the employee, a clear statement of the offices expectations and what the next steps would be if there was no improvement. When delivering this memo there must be two people in the room other than the employee, preferably another manager, supervisor, or owner.

Both the May and Will Memos should include a statement that the employee signature represents receipt of the letter, not necessarily agreement with its contents and an opportunity for the employee to object, in writing, to the contents of the reprimand letter.

Our Management 101 course goes through how to implement each of these four steps in detail. Attendees role play with each other using real situations from their individual offices and practice writing the May and Will memos.

In our next newsletter, we will discuss what steps you take if an employee doesn’t take any steps to improve after being reprimanded.

Want to ensure your office manager knows exactly what to do when dealing with employees who are not performing to standards? Send them to our next Management 101 course on one of dates we have scheduled for 2017-2018.

We guarantee you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t see the value in sending your manager we will refund their registration fees. Contact Kodie today at (403) 984‑0114 or register online at



Dr. Dave


#30 1221 Canyon Meadows Dr
SE Calgary, AB T2J 6G2

Phone: (403) 984‑0114


40837 N 97 St
Scottsdale, AZ 85262

Phone: (480) 840‑7323

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