July 11, 2013

Good Staffing Practices

Like any employer, operators of manufactured housing communities must follow exemplary practices when dealing with the hiring, managing, and firing of staff to minimize exposure to costly employment-related litigation. Of course, gathering the right team to achieve success is a primary goal.

As a first step, it is critical to make good hiring decisions. Do your candidates have the requisite skills? Are they motivated? Consider conducting background checks and credit checks and be thorough in checking both personal and professional references for all new hires.

Day-to-day management requires a steady hand at the helm, so it’s important to be sure that your employees know what you expect of them by providing clear and explicit job descriptions for each position. A clearly written company policy, outlined in a company handbook, is an invaluable tool in navigating these well-charted waters. And can help mitigate risk.

In the event that corrective action becomes necessary, a clearly documented progression of disciplinary action is crucial. When performance does not meet expectations, consider the following issues:

  • Follow disciplinary policy as defined in the company handbook. A well-written handbook will outline possible scenarios without limiting an employer’s ability to exercise discretion in choosing an appropriate action.
  • Action should be consistent with past practices in similar situations to avoid possible allegations of discrimination.
  • Document thoroughly. Managers should maintain an accurate record of all critical incidents on a regular basis. Formal documentation of performance reviews or disciplinary actions should be signed by the employee.

Finally, should it become necessary to terminate employment, it is important to ensure that your actions are beyond reproach. Of course, sometimes situations arise which require immediate termination, such as violent or criminal activity, so your company handbook should clearly state the types of offences which will result in immediate termination.

Please be sure to consult with an attorney regarding the laws and practices specific to your state. Timing of the final paycheck, benefit status, handling accrued holiday and sick pay, and other considerations vary and must be considered to remain compliant with employment laws in your state.