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Corrective Action Plan: What It Is And Implementation Tips

sticky notes on an office bulletin board

Do you want to ensure your business meets customer needs and complies with state, federal, and local regulatory requirements? Implement a corrective action plan.

At first glance, many managers may think that a corrective action plan is part of employee discipline or employee development. And while you can use a corrective action plan to address those issues, you can also use it to improve other aspects of your business.

In this article, the experts at Sling help you understand exactly what a corrective action plan is and how to implement one in your company.

What Is A Corrective Action Plan?

manager creating a corrective action plan

At its most basic, a corrective action plan (or “CAP” for short) is a step-by-step plan that’s put in place to address specific shortcomings or errors in the operation of your business.

Most often, you’ll implement a corrective action plan in an effort to:

  • Streamline workflow
  • Identify cost-effective routes to correct errors
  • Improve processes or methods
  • Increase effectiveness and efficiency
  • Control or eliminate deficient practices

Despite those most-common uses, you can deploy a CAP any time you identify an issue within your business that you want to change.

The corrective action plan could be something as simple as how you greet your customers when they first walk in or something as complicated as how you set up your accounting practices.

Why A Corrective Action Plan Is Important

Pieces of a corrective action plan and other business info on a wall

Think of a corrective action plan as a record of your actions. The CAP gives you a reference point to look back on when there are questions about implementation and when it comes time to evaluate whether or not the changes were successful.

With a written strategy in place, you and your team can monitor, manage, develop, improve, and evolve your solutions much easier — and more successfully — than if you randomly tried different approaches.

In many ways, a CAP is like the scientific method:

  1. Ask a question
  2. Research the issue
  3. Construct a hypothesis
  4. Test with an experiment
  5. Analyze data and draw conclusions
  6. Report your results

Once you’ve gone through the steps of your plan and analyzed the results, you can then refine the CAP to make further improvements.

Now that you understand what a corrective action plan is and why it’s important, let’s focus on how to implement one for best results.

How To Implement A Corrective Action Plan

Business owner looking at charts and info on a bulletin board

1) Examine The Issue

In this first step, try to get an understanding of the underlying problem.

You may have quality guidelines or standard operating procedures in place, but there could be fundamental obstacles that make those guidelines and standards difficult to achieve.

When you get to the core issue, the solutions often present themselves. This makes it easier to plan, write, and implement your corrective action plan.

2) Plan The Process

Once you thoroughly understand the problem in question, it’s time to plan the process for improvement.

During the planning stage, you should:

  • Investigate the root cause of the issue
  • Evaluate and assess nonconformance triggers (e.g., customer complaints, audits, process specifications, etc.)
  • Identify related issues
  • Determine solutions
  • Apply risk-management protocols
  • Establish responsibilities at various stages of the CAP
  • Set an adequate period of time to test the CAP

When you complete the planning process, it’s time to document your solutions.

3) Write The Corrective Action Plan

Now it’s time to put pen to paper and write out the details of your plan. Be sure to include such specifics as:

  • The problem you are addressing
  • The solution for improving
  • Formal documentation of policies
  • Specific procedures put in place to deal with the problem
  • Team and individual responsibilities

4) Train Your Team

Coworkers having a training meeting about corrective action plans in a conference room

Depending on how big your CAP is, this step may be straightforward or extremely involved.

If the CAP focuses on an individual employee, the training may only occupy a few hours. But if the CAP focuses on a larger, business-wide issue, training may take weeks or even months.

When planning your training, lay out the process from start to finish so that your team has the knowledge, understanding, skills, and confidence necessary to comply with the corrective action plan.

5) Implement the CAP

Once training is complete, set a date for the plan to go live.

Before that date, ensure that your written plan is complete and that all instructions, procedures, and methods are in place and readily available to all of your employees.

6) Examine The Results

Back in step two (the planning phase), you set a period of time to test the CAP. Regardless of the duration, when that time period has elapsed, it’s time to examine the results.

Did the corrective action plan perform as intended? Was the issue resolved? Could the results be better?

Think of this as a repeat of step one, and try to get as full a sense of the underlying problem as possible.

7) Adjust The CAP

When you’ve thoroughly examined the results, organize a new process (step two), adjust the CAP (step three), and start again.

Schedule Time To Focus On Your Corrective Action Plan

Sling's scheduling feature

One of the most important aspects of implementing a corrective action plan is finding the time to focus on the planning, corrective actions, and analysis of the results. Scheduling software like Sling can help.

The Sling app can help you carve out time during the busy workday to discuss, examine, and refine your CAP so you can achieve the best results the first time through.

But that’s not the only thing Sling can do. The Sling suite of tools also includes:

  • Powerful, calendar-based scheduling
  • Built-in time clock
  • Attendance tracker
  • Labor cost optimization
  • Budget reminders
  • Overtime monitor
  • Extensive reporting
  • Timesheets for seamless payroll processing
  • Paid-time-off control
  • Efficient messaging system
  • Team-wide newsfeed
  • Flexible task list

With Sling, you can conduct all of your workforce management activities in one place instead of cobbling together various separate apps that don’t integrate well with each other.

Sling mobile app

No matter the size of your business, Sling helps you build your team’s work schedule in minutes rather than hours. That can give you more time to perfect your corrective action plans and improve every aspect of your business.

For more resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.

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