CDS Option Employer Manual: Chapter 4 - Communication

Communication is the main ingredient in a successful partnership between you and your employee.

  • Clearly state expectations. Before you can state your expectations, you must know what they are.
  • Listen for understanding. You may want to ask an employee to restate in his or her own words what they understand.
  • Do not assume everyone is like you. Be sensitive to differences in communication styles.

Keep in mind that it is easier to talk about things the employer is not satisfied with if it is done promptly. The longer you wait, the bigger the problem becomes.


  • Training your employees about the way you want things done will help ensure satisfaction with services. Some things must be done a certain way, but you may prefer to have other things done differently. Remind experienced providers that, while some things are required to be done the same way, you may ask them to do other things differently than a previous employer did.

  • The training required will depend on the difficulty of the job and the worker’s experience.

  • Be clear and direct about your expectations.

  • Focus on things that mean the most to you. If you want or need something done in a specific way, explain to your employee why it is important that it be done that way.

  • Explain a task, and then show your employee how to do it.

  • More challenging tasks, such as transferring you, may take some coaching for the employee to learn to do it safely and comfortably.

  • You may have to tell the employee more than once how to do something. It may be helpful to have a family member or friend who has been helping you to demonstrate a procedure for the new employee.

  • If you will need a current employee to assist in training a new employee, call your FMSA, as the training costs will need to be added to your budget.

  • Talk to the employee as he or she is performing the task and don’t be afraid to tell the employee when he or she is doing something

  • incorrectly. Conversely, be sure to tell the employee when he or she is performing a task correctly, and thank him or her.

  • You may have to provide “refresher” training later.


  • You decide the importance of a schedule — some things may be more important than others.

  • Flexibility may be a determining factor for employment.

  • Employer and employees must agree on the schedule - otherwise, the employee may not be the best match for the job.

  • Respect the employee’s departure time and time off.

Providing Feedback to Your Staff

  • Do not assume your employee has understood the job description or instructions.

  • Be patient. Do not expect your employee to get everything right the first time (or even the second).

  • Assume your employee wants to do a good job. Your role is to provide the information needed to do the job right.

  • Let your employee know how he or she is doing. Remember to use DADS Form 1732 to document feedback.


  • Be clear, be respectful — remember that employees are people.

  • Patience is a necessity — everyone learns at their own speed.

  • Be quick to praise or correct — and remember to correct the mistake, not the person.

Evaluating your Employee

  • Evaluate an employee on quantity, quality, time and rules.

  • Set a regular schedule for evaluations.

  • Discuss what works and what doesn’t and document results on DADS Form 1732.

  • Use evaluations as opportunities for training.

Conflict Resolution

As with any job, there will be some areas of conflict between you and your employee. Sometimes conflict is due to poor job performance. If you suspect the training your employee has received did not address procedures and techniques that you need the employee to use, re-train your employee on the aspects of the job that are causing difficulty. Many times this “refresher course” will solve what seems to be a serious problem. Document the training on DADS Form 1732.

Tardiness is a frequent problem for some. If a pattern develops, confront the employee as soon as possible. Convey the importance of punctuality.

Get the employee to agree to a time frame. If the employee continues to violate that time frame, let him or her go. You can document problems and conversations about problems on DADS Form 1732.

Sometimes, an employee and the employer simply do not get along. Document problems, conversations, training and other steps used on DADS Form 1732. Before you give up completely, here are a few suggestions to try to solve the problem:

  • Keep the lines of communication open. When a conflict arises, do not shut down. Keep talking, and try to find out the reasons behind misconduct. The problem will not go away by ignoring it.

  • Bring in a third person to help settle the conflict. Another person who can look at both sides can often find a resolution that all can live with.

  • Look to your written contract for resolution. A written contract helps prevent or clear up disagreements about duties, salary, time off and benefits. This is another good reason to have a complete and clearly written contract between you and your employee.

  • In genuine differences of opinion, look for compromise.

Termination of Employment

If all else fails, then you must take the responsibility of firing or dismissing the employee. Letting someone go may not be easy, but it is sometimes necessary. The exact method you use is up to you. You should consult with your FMSA representative or Support Advisor (if available) to be sure the situation is documented correctly. It is recommended that you make arrangements for backup coverage before terminating an employee.

Below are suggested ways to handle the difficult task of terminating an employee.

  1. Do it in person, or do it over the phone if you feel more comfortable with this approach. Depending on the circumstances (abuse, neglect or exploitation), the employee may need to be dismissed over the phone. You may want to have someone else with you when you terminate an employee.

  2. It is your choice as to whether or not you give the traditional two-week notice.

  3. Do not drag it out — be direct, and come straight to the point.

  4. Some suggested methods of communicating the termination are: “I am sorry, but I do not feel you are appropriate for this job,” or “You are not fulfilling your job obligations,” or “I won’t be needing your services anymore.”

  5. Be sure to have the employee sign his or her current time sheet before leaving. Send the time sheet to the FMSA with termination information. When the employer terminates an employee, the FMSA must process the final paycheck within a certain number of days.

  6. If the employee has any of your belongings — a house key, credit cards, ATM card, etc. — they must be returned to you. Be sure to collect the items before the final paycheck is delivered.

  7. Watch what you say to others about the situation, especially to other employees. It is best to maintain confidentiality related to employee issues.

  8. Analyze what went wrong to avoid similar situations with other employees.

  9. Initiate your backup plan while you are looking for a new provider.

  10. Ensure that you have documented counseling on the DADS Form 1732. This may help protect you from an unemployment claim.