Management Practices

The One Minute Reprimand

Stacey Soble | March 28, 2012 | 1:09 PM

The One Minute ReprimandLauren Gartland, from Inspiring Champions, coaches owners to put into place a ‘Three Stikes, You’re Out’ policy, which means staff members have three chances to change their behavior or they choose to no longer work at the business.

For example: Let’s say Susie Stylist is a Naysayer, always complaining about there not being enough business, that the owner doesn’t do enough advertising. She complains that the salon needs to be remodeled and that the loser at the front desk has to go.

“We call these types of people chickens—they murmur, groan, complain and squawk about everything and they are the death of every business. And, we have a system that works with literally every human being,” says Gartland.

The system is called the One Minute Reprimand and it was developed by Marcia Wieder, the CEO and founder of Dream University. It has seven steps:

1. It has to be delivered immediately, within 24 hours of the offensive behavior.

2. The conversation is private between the owner/manager and the employee.

3. The whole reprimand takes no longer than a minute.

4. Get to the bottom line, and be specific.

5. Be firm, but non-threatening.

6. Stick to the five key system (see below.)

7. Leave the employee empowered by your words.

According to Gartland, here are the five keys to how a one-minute reprimand. Fill in the blanks with your own scenario:

Key #1: When you….(be specific, tell them what they did)

Key #2: I feel/felt….(share in a non-threatening way how it made you feel, such as disappointed, angry, hurt.)

Key #3: The impact that has/had on me is/was….(Authentically share how what they did impacted you or others.)

Key #4: My request is…(tell them what you expect them to do.)

Key #5: What I want you to know….(Complete with praise and positive reinforcement. This is the hardest, but the most important of all. Believe the best in people and let them know you care.)

Gartland shows the reprimand in action with Susie the Naysayer as an example: “Susie, when you were in the breakroom complaining about the front desk person, I felt like this was dissention—or gossiping about a team member in a way that wasn’t uplifting and didn’t move us forward as a team. It’s unfair to talk about people behind their backs, and the impact of that is people don’t feel safe to say anything to you. It creates chaos and havoc. My request is if something is not working for you, come talk to me about it and we can talk about it personally. What I want you to know is you are a valuable asset to this business, and you are fun to be around, and I encourage you to keep that attitude.”

Next Steps: When you give a one-minute reprimand, write it up afterward and have the employee sign it. If you have to give them the same reprimand a second time, add a warning that if it happens again they are choosing to no longer work at the salon. “To protect your business, this conversation must be documented in writing and have them sign it,” says Gartland. “You need written proof that you have given these individuals three opportunities to correct their behavior. Documenting and having them sign off on each communication will set the business up to win and save you legal fees, should the employee go after you. In addition, with written proof they may not qualify for unemployment which also saves the company money.”

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