When we hear the words corrective action plan, the first thing that most people think of is employee discipline or something of the sort. Not to say it doesn’t cover that, but it goes much deeper. So now you’re probably questioning what the purpose of an action plan even is?
In short, a corrective action plan ensures that your customer’s needs are met, your business practice complies with state, federal, and local government regulations, and so much more.
The corrective action plan digs deep into every nook and cranny of your business to expose possible loopholes and errors, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The corrective action is carried out in steps in order to identify different ways you can put your business back on track and ensure that you are as effective and efficient as possible. In addition, it helps you keep aligned with your mission statement and reach your business goals.
What is the Purpose of an Action Plan?
Great question! Think of it like this, when mistakes happen at work, there are times where they can be fixed. However, there are occasions where there isn’t a simple remedy. Without a corrective action plan in place, situations can escalate, and the repercussions are not worth it. The corrective action plan puts preventative measures so that those scenarios don’t happen.
Now, to reiterate what is the purpose of an action plan – corrective action plans are put in place to reform tasks, processes, products, handle customers, employee behavior, etc. So, as you continue to ask yourself, what is the purpose of an action plan? Your answer should include that the corrective action plan halts errors before they become fatal. Any issue that arises, you can use your corrective action plan to tackle any given situation.
The corrective action plan covers the following:
- Improve workflows
- Identify ways to fix errors that maintain within budget
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Increase efficiency and effectiveness
- Improved processes or methods
- Prevent repeat actions
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Why is a Corrective Action Essential?
Due to the debate whether a corrective action plan is needed, you may end up questioning yourself, what is the purpose of an action plan? You have to keep in mind that it helps you locate the problems and provide the solutions. Sitting back on your chair isn’t going to help any situation that presents itself. You might be thinking, well, I have worked in many jobs, and owning my business shouldn’t be any different. Should someone step out of line, I’ll put them back in line, and job done.
However, the corrective action plan delves much deeper than that. It protects you against your business closing or paying out large sums of money for fines. For example, without a health and safety corrective action plan, your employee could turn around and sue you. Since you didn’t have an action plan for what happened, you have no evidence to back yourself should you need to go to court.
If your business involves customers, your corrective action plan helps staff know the procedure should a customer have a complaint with the quality of the product/service. Employees will have the information that provides the corrective action to take and whether the customer’s complaint is fair. When you think about it, you are providing your staff with all the tools they need.
When you set a company policy in place, your team can deal with the approach from a company perspective and not just a random solution until the customer is satisfied. A well-written plan provides you with security to know that your team can handle anything they face quickly and efficiently.
A corrective action plan gives you peace of mind knowing that your business is protected in case anything goes wrong.
Creating the Perfect Corrective Action Plan
To begin writing the corrective actions you wish to include in your plan, you should consider the following:
- Identify key issues
- Researching why those are problems for your business
- Come up with theoretical situations of how it could happen
- Write the remedy
- Testing your theories
- Analyze your results
- Write them in your plan
Remember, you can always go back and improve your plan. The correct corrective actions save a lot of headaches. We will now look into how to create a plan.
Identify the issue
The first thing to start with is understanding the root of the problem. Even if you have current policies that employees should follow, sometimes they haven’t been thought through enough, and therefore, the same scenario reoccurs. When you can comprehend the cause, you will often be able to provide a proper solution.
If you’re still questioning what is the purpose of an action plan? Take a look at the following example. An employee lifts a box that is too heavy for them, hurts themselves, and there are no guidelines for lifting items. You will need to view this as a health and safety concern. You’re thinking, why on earth did they think it was safe to lift something so heavy? Do they know how much they are allowed to lift per their weight and strength?
It’s important to identify possible issues before they happen with a corrective action.
Take corrective action
Now you know what the problem is, you can begin taking measures to provide a suitable solution. For example, all boxes should be clearly marked with their weight, so that employees can make a calculated decision.
Locate the root of the problem
Investigate how this problem happened. For example, none of the boxes were labeled. Then find out what caused this issue to come to light, for example, too many employees complaining of back pain. Additionally, look for any relatable concerns.
Do your research and ask the employees why a particular situation happened. If the difficulty is customer-related, ask customers for more information. Once you know the root and have your clear solution, it’s time to consider how you write and implement your plan.
Brainstorm with your employees
Even though you have done all your research, ask your employees what measures could have been taken to avoid the problem from repeating.
This also encourages engagement and shows a level of care for your staff. The more people that input, the more data you will have when writing out your plan.
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Your corrective action plan
If you’ve gotten this far, and you’re thinking about doing this all in your head without writing it down, and you’re still questioning what’s the purpose of an action plan? We have the details to explain it even further.
When you begin writing your own corrective action plan, you will see how the corrective actions make sense. You can set deadlines, targets, or more goals that you’d like to reach. In addition, it’s written down. Hence, you can always refer to it later on.
The corrective actions should include:
- The issue
- Your company policies
- The procedures set to avoid this issue
- List of responsibilities, whether that’s an individual employee, manager, etc.
Train your employees
Now that you’ve written your corrective action plan, you will not wonder what the purpose of an action plan is anymore. Once you reap the benefits, you will want to train your employees as soon as possible.
Your training should include covering all the possible scenarios along with all your solutions. It should be clear so that employees leave the meeting understanding what is expected should a situation arise. Furthermore, your employees should have the confidence to carry out any tasks.
Technology can be your best friend to manage your corrective action plan as it involves a lot of moving components. For example, it requires communicating effectively and following up to check the corrective action is working as it should.
This can be a lot to manage, especially with all your other daily tasks. If you are still using emails and text messages, your communication efforts can often be missed. The worst part is that you can’t even track who has seen your message.
Not only have you wasted time trying to call and chase everyone, mistakes still happen because your employees haven’t read your messages. Since there’s no way to track, you have no clue whether employees are completing their tasks.
All-in-one apps such as Connecteam allow you to implement your corrective action plan company-wide so that everyone has direct access to the corrective action plan. You can also track who has not yet read your training manuals and can send automated push notifications to remind them to do so.
Furthermore, you can keep tabs and watch as your staff progress. With the addition of videos and pictures, you can bring your corrective action plan to life. Employees will be able to watch real-life scenarios right from their mobile devices in their own time instead of just sitting in a boring room.
Additionally, you no longer have to cram everything into one training session and worry if everyone understands the material. Employees can train and refer directly back to the app even as a real-life situation occurs. Moreover, employees have corrective actions in the palm of their hands. They no longer have the struggle of looking through a big binder in the middle of a crisis. With Connecteam’s app, you can make files for each corrective action that your employee can search easily to find what they need.
When a new or enhanced corrective action is released, send an update company-wide, and everyone will be up to date. Employees can interact with likes and comments just like most social apps they are already familiar with. If you notice an employee hasn’t yet read your update, you can use the in-app chat to send them a reminder to check. If a corrective action only applies to one team, you can set up group chats on the app and send them a message.
Connecteam has far more capabilities than just training, messaging, and updating. You can set up task management, timeclock (including payroll integrations with Quickbooks Online and Gusto), and so much more. With an easy setup, even your non-tech-savvy employee will enjoy using it and feel more comfortable should an issue arise.
Follow Up Your Corrective Action Plan
It’s all good writing and having it in place. However, you need to monitor and evaluate whether your new process is working. If we go back to the original example, you can ask a handful of employees how their backs are feeling since the new plan.
The great thing is that you can tweak your corrective action plan at any point. Your employee may give you a suggestion to add, so the next employee doesn’t face the same experience.
Adding a piece of technology to your plan can help you keep track in real-time and make adjustments should you need. You will no longer question what is the purpose of an action plan? You will instead be asking why it took you so long to write one!
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