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Minuting Disciplinary & Grievance Meetings – Training Course Outline
A meeting to address a grievance, disciplinary matter or redundancy, is something that every HR professional, and most people above certain levels of management, must be able to run or support. Such meetings can be held at quite short notice and may often be stressful. Attendees may be angry, defensive or upset.
This course helps you to prepare for such meetings, and to make sure your record of them is accurate and meets your company's requirements.
It presents general principles that will support your company's disciplinary and grievance procedures.
Badly written grievance or disciplinary minutes or notes can expose your company to the risk of litigation or fines, so training in writing good records is essential for HR staff.
What you will learn on this training course
By the end of the course, you will know how to:
- Plan for meetings effectively
- Write in a clear, concise style
- Avoid common grammatical mistakes
- Produce minutes that meet your company’s requirements
What our customers say
“Alison’s approach and technique made the topic interesting and easy to grasp.”
TC, Lambeth College
“The course made me aware of how I can write in a more clear and concise manner.”
JT, ACS & T Ltd
“Excellent course, would recommend to people.”
JS, Environment Agency
“Really useful, enjoyed combination of topic and examples of use of grammar and punctuation, made comfortable to shorten notes produced in future using skills learned today.”
KF, South Oxfordshire District Council
“The training session was well formatted and timed. Our trainer was very personable and knowledgeable.”
AL, Royal Opera House
1. General principles
- Our premise - good writing isn’t magic, it can be learned!
- Quick and clear messages – six questions to clarify your thinking
- What purposes do disciplinary, grievance or redundancy meeting notes fulfil?
Knowing why your company needs them ensures your minutes are appropriate:
- Your minutes become part of the official record of an event;
- Meeting minutes are legal documents and may be requested by lawyers.
- Who is going to read these minutes and why?
It can be hard to know how long or how detailed minutes should be. What is the right tone? Do you summarise or record every word? Each approach can be the right one, but knowing which to choose depends on a clear grasp of who your readers are and the uses they will make of your minutes.
2. Being prepared
When you book we send you a questionnaire which we ask you to return to us before you attend the course. This enables our Trainers to assess your needs in advance.
- What problems will you face while minute-taking?
We’ll suggest ways for you to free yourself to concentrate on the important matters. You need to have tools you can rely on and to have done whatever research is possible so you have the necessary context and facts to understand what is being discussed.
- Why an impartial minute taker is important
Disciplinary or grievance meetings can be stressful. The minute taker needs to be seen as an impartial third party. You can emphasise this by seating arrangements and by having no involvement except for keeping the record.
- How do you know what to record and what to leave out?
You can only get this right if you are clear on why you are creating the meeting notes, who will read them and what they will need to know from them. Researching the background to the events being discussed will also help you to know what to include and what is not relevant.
- Getting a clear brief before the meeting
Part of your preparation for the meeting may be a conversation with the person who is going to chair it. They should tell you why they have called the meeting and what outcome they expect from it, that is, the kind of decision the information from it will need to support. You may have to help them write briefing notes for other participants.
3. Structuring your notes
- What is the best structure for your notes?
This will depend partly on the nature of what is being discussed. We will cover several options and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
- What format or layout should you use?
Does your company have any standard templates for use in disciplinary or grievance meetings? Do they meet your needs or could they be improved? We will also offer a template to give you a starting point if you do not have access to any company standard ones.
4. At the meeting
Should you write things down word for word? Correct grammatical errors? Summarise what the speaker has said? What part of the notes can you have ready before the meeting to save time?
- Different ways of recording spoken words
We will look at examples of recording speech word for word, re-phrasing direct quotes as reported speech and condensing it down to a more telegraphic style. By discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each, you’ll be able to choose the method that is easiest for you and best meets your company’s needs.
- What can you do ahead of the meeting?
There will be some things that you will already know before the meeting starts. By including them in your minutes beforehand, you will be free to concentrate on the things that you must record during the meeting.
The notes you write at the meeting must be signed off by all parties. We look at ways to make your writing legible. You will find out what can cause handwriting to be tiring and painful, and discuss ways to address this.
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5. When the meeting ends
Your handwritten minutes form the legal record of the meeting. They need to be signed off as an accurate record by the concerned parties. However, you will also need to type up your notes into a clean, properly formatted copy which may also need to be signed.
Your finished minutes must look professional because they may be used to represent your company’s position.
- A top-down approach to improving text – edit like a reader
- Improving the layout – highlighting key points
- Proofreading your work – tips to help you see what’s really there
- Spelling – using the tools
If you use Word™ to write your minutes, you can take advantage of its spelling checker. If you know how, you can ignore words that Word thinks are spelling mistakes but are just words you use in your role. We will also look at some shortcuts in Word to make your job easier.
6. Practical session
You will take turns to practise what you have learned by minuting scripted practice sessions. We will follow these with group discussions to see what learning points arose and how different members of the group addressed them.
- What difficulties did you encounter?
Find out how others in the group coped with common problems and share your own techniques.
- How accurate a record did you take?
Compare your minutes with the scripted scenario and assess which were the critical points and whether you recorded them. Did you record things that were irrelevant?