When you’re drafting a Notice to Explain, here’s a quick test to see if you’ve done a great job narrating the facts which led to the violation.

Is your narration Complete?

  • Were you able to include all the relevant events?
  • Were you able to show why each event or information is important?
  • If a person outside the company were to read this, would they understand the story and why it is important?

Is your narration Clutter-free?

  • Cut out the fat. Only facts should remain here.
  • There is no room for speculation. It will come back and bite you in the ass if you throw around allegations of events and they turn out to be untrue.
  • No need to make it long. Shorter, the better. Don’t buy into the belief that longer reports make better reports. That may work against you in the long run because important facts get buried in the length.
  • Do you have any acronyms, shortcuts or jargon in there? Take them out and replace with words that outsiders can understand. Always assume that people outside the company will be reading this so you have to make yourself understandable to those unfamiliar with your company shortcuts.
  • Keep out unwanted or unneeded details to keep it stream-lined. Assume that whomever will be reading your report (your bosses, the labor arbiter, lawyers) are busy so you need to cut away the fat. Only the essentials should be left behind.
  • Can you reduce the content further and keep it understandable? How can you make it shorter?

Is your narration Convincing?

  • Show your report’s relevance. Show the importance of why you are making these actions part of a discipline process. Demonstrate the effects that resulted from the violation. Did the company lose money? Did the company incur delays? Who took overtime just to clean up your mess?
  • Your narration should show a cohesive and complete story (part 1) which is supported by evidence and credible witnesses. Include all the supporting materials which convinced you that the narration was accurate and credible. Make other people feel this as well by presenting the findings you have from investigations you conducted.

If you honestly can’t say that your narrative does not pass the 3 C’s, sit down and rewrite. You have to ensure that you have the best narrative you can produce before sending it out.

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