HR Management & Compliance, Learning & Development

Acronyms and Employee Performance: List Goes On and On

Acronyms are quick and useful abbreviations that allow us to recall lists, speeches, important facts, or procedures through the use of one word or short phrase. Such shortcuts are common in the world of employment, too, and just as useful.

employee feedback
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TIPS and tricks

Acronyms are one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to memorizing important information. Today, they’re widely used in fast-paced communication such as texts and e-mails. More than a shortcut when talking to our peers, however, acronyms can be just as helpful when it comes to creating and remembering HR procedures.

For example, TIPS is a common checklist employers use when speaking to employees who belong to a union or are thinking about joining one. The helpful word reminds employers to be cautious when their employees are in a union campaign. In that situation, you shouldn’t threaten, interrogate, promise, or spy.

A simple word can prove to be very useful when you find yourself in a tricky situation. You always want to abide by employment laws to avoid harming your employees or the working environment. In addition, you can avoid issues down the line such as costly lawsuits.

Acronyms can provide a simple way to ensure we stick to our company’s policies and procedures. That’s especially important when an employee’s actions start to deviate from your standards or expectations.

FRISK method

FRISK® is a simple method developed by California-based law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo. FRISK assists employers in documenting an employee’s conduct, should it lead to termination. The acronym stands for facts, rule, impact, suggestions, and knowledge.

Facts. Under the FRISK method, the first thing you must do is to follow the facts by evidencing the employee’s conduct in the workplace.

Rule. You should then directly reference the company policy or applicable rule the employee has violated.

Impact. The FRISK method also instructs you to record the impact the employee’s conduct has had on the company or coworkers.

Suggestions. The documentation should include corrective suggestions for the employee to follow.

Knowledge. Last, you should include evidence the employee was timely made aware of the misconduct and all the aforementioned information along with the right to respond.

Technology makes it a SNAP

In today’s modern world, technology is so prevalent and can be useful in evaluating an employee’s performance. Using your phone to document an employee’s conduct is easy and incredibly helpful when it comes time to decide whether to terminate someone’s employment. Here at our firm, we follow SNAP:

Save. Use your phone to create or add to a timeline of the employee’s behavior. Take a picture of any damages or an employee’s workspace, send an e-mail, shoot a text, or document inappropriate behavior in your notes app. By using your phone, you can quickly document and save the appropriate evidence you need if you decide to terminate the individual after the following steps.

Notice. Put the employee on notice of probation and address their actions. You can do so, again, by using your phone to send them an e-mail or a text or schedule a formal meeting to discuss the next steps of their employment.

Assess. Continue to monitor the employee through the probation period and assess the performance. Document what you observe in your notes and look for improvement.

Part ways. After assessing the employee’s continued performance through an appropriate time period, what if nothing improves? It may be best to terminate the individual. Fortunately, you will have plenty of documentation to back up your decision.

Progress is calling, and the answer is simple

Methods of discipline have progressed in many ways in the modern era. An e-mail or a text to an employee who isn’t performing well is just as valid as the old write-up, common before the advent of smartphones. Over the last 70 years of labor and employment law, a lot has evolved. Some things, however, such as the notion you should give an employee notice before termination, have not. We encourage you to use your smartphone to document the performance problems and perhaps motivate the individual to do better.

Acronyms play a big part in our daily communication. It only makes sense to incorporate them into our companies’ policies. When it comes to determining someone’s future at your company, we know the decision should never be taken lightly. Methods such as FRISK are extremely helpful, however, by using your phones to gather more information and create a more accurate timeline of the employee’s misconduct. We hope SNAP aids you in keeping the process efficient and as simple as snapping a picture.

Jacob M. Monty is an attorney with Monty & Ramirez LLP in Houston, Texas. He can be reached at

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