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Coaching & Counseling

In accordance with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Performance Planning and Evaluation Policy 1.40, employees are provided with performance expectations on the PeopleAdmin position description and in the Performance Plan and defined in the online performance management tool. 

In accordance with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Standards of Conduct Policy 1.60, Virginia Tech utilizes a progressive disciplinary process which:

  • Provides an opportunity for employees to be successful 
  • Allows managers to effectively discipline or terminate employees whose behavior or performance does not improve 
  • Allows managers to proceed with immediate termination when the misconduct or unacceptable performance is persistent or is so serious that a first offense justifies termination

Probationary employees are expected to conform to the expectations outlined in the Standards of Conduct Policy 1.60 but are not issued written notices.  Please contact Employee Relations at 540-231-9331, your Human Resources Consultant, or Director for disciplinary and performance issues related to probationary employees.

Progressive Disciplinary Process

Timely, appropriate and effective feedback is essential to effective performance and the progressive disciplinary process.  While the process below is described as “progressive”, at times an offense may be so severe that the appropriate response is to move directly to a written notice.

Informal Discussion

The first step in the progressive disciplinary process is a private discussion between the supervisor and the employee in which:

  • The supervisor identifies the performance/conduct problem, its impact on the operation of the business unit and the performance/conduct expectation
  • The employee is offered an opportunity to provide information as to any factors that may have contributed to the problem 
  • Any resources that might be helpful are identified, including coaching, skills training, mediation of workplace conflict, voluntary referral to the Employee Assistance Program, etc… 
  • An action plan to access any identified resource is developed

A notation that a discussion has occurred may be kept in the supervisor’s file.

Counseling Memo

If, after an informal discussion of a performance/conduct problem, the problem continues, the supervisor and employee may meet again privately to discuss the problem.  Again:

  • The supervisor identifies the performance/conduct problem, its impact on the operation of the business unit, the performance/conduct expectation. 
  • The employee is offered an opportunity to provide information as to any factors that may have contributed to the problem. 
  • Potential resources are identified and
  • An action plan for accessing those resources is established. 

This time, however, following the discussion, a counseling memo is issued to the employee. 

The counseling memo should be a summary of the discussion between the supervisor and the employee.  It should include sections in which:

  • The problem is identified (including the impact of the problem on the business unit)
  • Any factors that contribute to the problem are defined
  • The action plan to address those factors is explained
  • The expected performance/conduct is defined and
  • The plan for follow up communication is outlined

Counseling memos are retained in the supervisor’s files.  They do not become a part of the employee’s personnel file unless the performance/conduct problem continues and the counseling memo becomes an attachment to a subsequent performance/disciplinary action.

P142, Notice of Improvement Needed/Unsatisfactory Performance

If, after issuing a Counseling Memo, an employee’s performance does not improve, a Virginia Tech Form P142, Notice of Improvement Needed/Unsatisfactory Performance may be issued to the employee by the supervisor.  The P142 contains:

  • A section in which the problem is identified (including the impact of the problem on the business unit)
  • A section for a performance improvement plan 

The performance improvement plan should include:

  • A review of performance expectations
  • An action plan to address factors impacting the employee’s performance
  • The plan for follow up monitoring of performance 

The performance improvement period will vary depending upon the performance problem but should allow adequate time for the employee to demonstrate improvement.

A form P142 is retained in the supervisor’s file.  It does not become a part of the employee’s personnel file unless it is used to support an overall rating of “Unacceptable Performance” on the annual performance evaluation OR unless it is used to support a written notice.

Written Notices

Please contact Employee  Relations or your Human Resources Consultant or Director before issuing any written notice.

Written notices may not be issued to probationary employees.  Please contact Employee Relations at 540-231-9331, your Human Resources Consultant, or Director for guidance.

Written notices may be issued:

  • If less formal attempts to correct either conduct or performance have been unsuccessful
  • If the performance/conduct problem is so significant or serious that an immediate formal action is warranted.

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Standards of Conduct Policy 1.60 groups conduct and performance offenses according to severity.  Group I offenses are least serious; Group III offenses are most serious and usually warrant termination of employment.  Written notices have an “active life” which varies according to the level of the offense.  Employees may be suspended for offenses categorized as Group II or Group III offenses.  Please see Attachment A of the Standards of Conduct Policy 1.60 or contact Employee Relations at 540-231-9331 for additional information.

Written Notices are retained in the employee’s personnel file with all supporting documentation including previously issued counseling memos and/or P142s.  Written Notices may be used to support an overall rating of “Unacceptable Performance” on the annual performance evaluation.