Professional Development Best Practice 7 – Document ‘I’ll Take Care of You’ Promises

Document Management PromisesFrom time-to-time, managers ask subordinates to perform tasks beneficial to the company that do not directly contribution to the individual’s goal achievement. These managers often promise to deliver some benefit to the employee as compensation for the adverse impact of these activities. As a ‘team player,’ the professional may feel compelled to accept the boss’s offer and perform these tasks. When doing so, however, it is important for the professional to eliminate the risk of not receiving the promised benefits once the work is completed.[wcm_restrict plans=”79722, 25542, 25653″]

Risks to Mitigate

The StrategyDriven Professional faces several obstacles that could prevent him or her from realizing the boss’s ‘I’ll take care of you’ promises, including:

  • Boss forgets the commitment or significant/important details
  • The boss is replaced and the new superior does not feel obligated to fulfill the commitment
  • Other managers won’t recognize the commitment when aggregating performance evaluations for broad rankings and promotions
  • Superior’s priorities change and he or she will not honor the commitment

Mitigating the Risk

Performance management systems formally establish personal performance goals against which individuals are evaluated. As such, documenting the activities to be performed, their value to the organization, and the reward to be conferred is the best method for mitigating the above risks. Managers, however, often prefer to give the employee his or her ‘word’ so to avoid the administrative work of updating performance goals. This further delegitimizes the offer and increases the professional’s risk of loss. Thus, another method of risk mitigation is required.

Common to all of the risks is the lack of specificity in the offer conferred. Furthermore, the absence of documentation to record the offer makes it easier to later avoid. Consequently, it is incumbent upon the professional to document the specifics of the offer and have his/her boss acknowledge the deal.

Document Details

  • Date of the deal and duration of the activity
  • Specific activity to be performed
  • Quality and/or quantity of the activity to be performed including any available elaborating details
  • Details of the benefit the employee is to receive upon completion of the activity including when the benefit is to be conferred

Document Methods

  • Written document for filing in the individual’s personnel file
  • Email with return receipt or acknowledgement requested
  • Follow-up documentation of the deal within performance self-assessments

This documentation and its acknowledgement should be performed as soon after the deal is offered as possible. This makes it exceedingly difficult for a manager to refuse to acknowledge the arrangement and if such a refusal occurs the employee is in a better position to cease work on the assigned action.

Final Thought…

‘I’ll take care of you’ promises are an extremely poor method of performance management and place the StrategyDriven Professional at great risk of not achieving his or her career aspirations. While this best practice may help mitigate the risk, ongoing subjugation to ‘I’ll take care of you’ promises is a warning flag that the professional may need to remove him/herself from the organization or workgroup.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember plans=”79722, 25542, 25653″]

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