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Truckstop Training: Effective Corrective Action Documentation

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Human Resources

Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Truckstop and Travel Plaza Training. Training is an essential element in the success of any operation. Truckstops and travel plaza that train their staff well are able to improve their sales, profits, customer service, effectiveness and safety. As a result, their company’s overall operations also improve.

NATSO also offers a Truckstop and Travel Plaza Training Manual. The manual is designed to help operators create their own store- and company-specific operations training manual. NATSO members can purchase the manual for $175 and nonmembers can purchase it for $675 here.

Truckstop Training: Effective Corrective Action Documentation

A cornerstone of the Corrective Action process is documentation. Good documentation is imperative when you begin the Corrective Action process. Often we forget about documentation until it is about time to terminate a troubled team member. At that point, documentation just becomes a way to cover our “tracks”. Understand, there are events that take place in our 24-hour operations that require us to move immediately to termination and even in these types of events, documentation is critical.

But why do we document, why is it important?

  1. If you do not document the events, did it really happen? Documentation eliminates “he said she said” events.
  2. You reduce legal implications to you and your organization.
  3. Documenting it as it happens ensure that you are not trying to remember it later. You reduce the chance of inaccurate statements and events.
  4. If you ever find yourself in court for, an unemployment hearing, etc., you have to be able to prove that the team member deserved the termination and that all other means of discipline had been taken in order to resolve the issue.

What makes for effective corrective action documentation?

  1. Give very clear and specific details of why corrective action is taking place.
  2. Focus only on the facts. Do not wonder into discussions about things you heard, rumor or speculation.
  3. Be open minded to the team member’s comments about when, why, how and where.
  4. Ensure that every team member is treated the same. Do not write up Bob for grazing popcorn when Sally, your top team member, does it every day before checking out.
  5. Address the issues when they happen. Do not wait for long periods to address it. Never build up a list of all the things a team member does poorly and or wring and then spring it on them.  Do not be a hoarder of team member’s issues.
  6. Ensure you address the issue that needs correcting, not the person. Focus on the behavior, not the person.
  7. Always allow the team member to share their explanation of what took place and why. If you listen carefully, sometimes you can ward off future issues and issues that are taking place that may have not been addressed.
  8. Never complete the written document while you are performing the corrective action with the team member. You should have this completed prior to your meeting.
  9. Always have the team member sign the document, if they refuse, ensure they know it does not stop the documentation from being “filed” or sent in to HR and their refusal to sign will not stop further corrective action up to and including termination should the actions/behavior not improve. (Many organizations require that documentation be made of team member’s refusal to sign the corrective action form. For example, XXXX refused to sign the corrective action on May 13th, 2013.)



Join the conversation! How do you document corrective action needed? What lessons have you learned over the years when it comes to proper termination?




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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.