Managers can be smarter employers by getting more specific about the practice’s expectations, says Philippe Weiss, an attorney and managing director of Seyfarth Shaw at Work, the dedicated compliance services and training subsidiary for the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.
For a receptionist’s job description, include details of the specific skills you expect. For example, a receptionist will answer the phone promptly, use a friendly tone, be polite and explain our services. If you ever face a judge in court, Weiss says you will find it much easier to identify how the employee’s job performance failed to meet your expectations if you outlined your expectations from the start, recorded the times and dates of occasions where the receptionist did not answer the phone according to the job description and present documentation, such as written complaints from customers.
“Quite often these records are pretty messy, because the employer includes facts that aren’t relevant, such as the employee’s personal or family details,” Weiss says. “You want to keep your records clear and performance-based.”
For example, if Amy is going through a messy divorce, and she spends five hours a day talking to co-workers instead of walking dogs, answering the phone or assisting clients, don’t write: “On Tuesday, Amy spent five hours talking to co-workers about her divorce.” Do write: “On Tuesday, May 14, Amy spent five hours talking to co-workers about non-work-related issues.”