Many employers use a progressive discipline system. This means that, generally, discipline involve a three- or four-step approach before an employer terminates an employee. This system is based on the presumption that employees, by nature, do not wish to engage in misconduct and, if allowed a chance, will correct their behavior.
Regardless of what specific system your company follows, there are some general best practices that will help you streamline the discipline system. Today, we’re sharing some of the most notable tips.
Have one person that is in charge of disciplinary action, and ensure that there is another person reviewing disciplinary decisions before they are implemented. It’s always confusing when there is more than one person in charge. To make the disciplinary system as straightforward as possible, put one person (HR representative or manager) in charge of disciplinary action. Also ensure that there is a second person reviewing disciplinary actions before they are implemented. This ensures that decisions made aren’t personal in nature, and are appropriate in response to the employee’s actions.
Notify employees with a warning of conduct that may get them into disciplinary hot water, and have open communication with them after action has been taken. Employees should (almost) always be offered a warning before harsher actions are taken. Once it has reached a place where disciplinary action must be taken, sit the employee down and explain to them exactly what behavior caused you to take action and what the next steps are. Oftentimes, employees may not understand the steps in the disciplinary action and will be confused about the process. Educating them and allowing them to ask questions will hopefully prevent a similar situation in the future.
Discipline should be consistent across the board. Treating employees differently is a quick way to head towards litigation. Instead, have a policy in place and follow that policy to the letter. The policy should be presented at the time of hiring and clearly explained, along with possible outcomes of disciplinary action if necessary. The policy should also clearly outline what will happen in case of a second, third or fourth offense.
Disciplinary systems can be one of the trickiest pieces of policy for a small business to create, but it is also one of the most valuable in terms of keeping the company running efficiently. Leave us a comment blow and let us know how you constructed your discipline policy. Is it something you rework frequently?