People always talk about how to effectively reward their employees, whether that’s through gift cards, offsite events, company swag, there is a multitude of ways to recognize good behavior. But what people never talk about or rarely, is bad behavior. It’s going to happen, and if you think that you will never have it in your organization, good luck to you. People are people, they will make mistakes, so how do you deal with those mistakes and still keep a positive culture? It really comes down to effective communication and fairness. That’s why every organization needs a documented consequence management system. Now, many of you are probably thinking – huh? 

A consequence management system (CMS) is, in essence, a documented system that provides a structure that effectively communicates positive discipline amongst your workforce. It creates a sense of responsibility by creating awareness of what the expected behaviors of employees are throughout their employment with your organization. Every sports game has rules, whether it’s hockey and cross checking, or a red card in soccer, there are rules and consequences to certain behaviors. So why don’t we have that for our workforce? Surprisingly many MSPs don’t.  

The CMS provides an outline of what is considered bad behavior within our organization. So it’s basically giving the ground rules of what you can and can’t do. It also then sets the parameters for what will happen if there is an incident, what the process of the investigation will be, and what the consequences will be. For example, types of incidents that you would cover in a CMS would include: 

  1. A violation of your policies and processes: this includes policies within your handbook, security standards, core values, for us it also includes The Collaborative Way practices, or any other document that we have shared within our HR platform.  
  2. Absence from work: unauthorized, uninformed, and unscheduled absences from work. People can’t just flake on you, and if they do, what are the repercussions? 
  3. Noncompliance with our training program: we strongly believe in professional growth, and every employee must undergo specific trainings as part of their employment journey with ITBD. Whether that is product knowledge, specialized training, or leadership training, it’s a requirement within our organization and something that we believe in wholeheartedly. So much so, that there are consequences if you don’t comply.  
  4. Non-compliance with our IT policy: we are SOC 2 Type II compliant, and with that it means we’ve got a very strict IT policy that every team member must adhere to. No playing games with our data; so what is acceptable use of our equipment? 
  5. Code of conduct violations: now you have to make sure that you have a code of conduct listed in your handbook. This could be theft, verbal or physical misconduct, neglect of work, rude behavior, gross negligence, violations of agreements. Whatever behaviors that are a serious no go, must be documented and consequences clearly listed.  
  6. Performance related violations: Now this one is probably the toughest. It needs to be detailed. What do we consider performance related issues? It’s different for every engineer and organization. Let’s use some examples for MSPs: 
    • Recording incorrect or inappropriate time entries 
    • Client escalations 
    • Forgetting to log off on client machines during remote sessions 
    • Making changes to customer infrastructures during business hours causing P1 issues 
    • Repeat offenders 

Once we have identified what the types of incidents are, we then have a process of how the investigation will go. There is fairness in everything. Once a manager raises an issue, they will submit all of the historical data of the situation, the impact on the business based on severity, using our incident report. The investigation will include our HR head, their people manager, the employee, and it will all be done within five days, or sooner, based on the severity of the incident.  

Once the investigation is complete, the HR team will communicate the consequences within three working days. Now we have a list of consequences based on the issue. Some infractions require immediate termination, others a performance improvement plan, it’s completely dependent upon your organization and what is most important to you. Why this is important though is because now we have set the expectations for performance within our workforce, we’ve clearly communicated a standard for behavior, and what consequences will happen in the event that those standards are not met. It’s a fair system, clearly communicated, every employee reads and signs off on it at the beginning of their employment, so we have set the ground rules for being part of the ITBD community. 

It may seem so harsh but I can guarantee you, your employees will thank you for it. Your A players will be grateful that they see that there is a standard within the organization that every team member needs to meet, and your C players will know what they need to avoid doing, and if they don’t stop, what will be the repercussions. It’s all about clarity. If you don’t have a CMS in your organization, develop one, it doesn’t have to be complicated, but it must be thorough. Good leaders need to be able to provide structure, clarity, and equality in all things, especially in Performance Management.  

If you’d like a copy of our CMS, and would like to learn more about setting one up in your organization, feel free to email and we’d be happy to setup a call to help.  

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