We all know that disciplining an employee will never be like sitting on the beach, but there is an easier way to handle discipline issues.
It is never fun when you have to deal with employee problems of any type. Whether they are late to work, slow on the job or they talk more than they do anything else, managers, supervisors and business owners need to realize that the sooner they handle a problem the easier it is to deal with.
In order to carry this out effectively, all businesses need to have a policy manual that explains protocols of the business. All employees must read it once hired and sign a form stating that they have read it and understand it completely.
If you do not have one, how will the employee know what the rules of the game are? When I was a younger manager I thought that I would just be able to talk to the employees and they would do just what was asked of them without hesitation, because that is what happened to me in the work world. Boy, did I learn that was not the case real fast. Just because we have expectations of the employee does not mean that they will meet them or even will try hard to. There are some people who just want to do as little as they can to get by and no more.
A progressive discipline policy is a wonderful tool to have as it sets the guidelines for management to follow and lets all employees know what the expectations are and what will happen if they are not met. This is a great way to be fair to all parties involved, the employee will know just where they stand and the employer can rest knowing that they are giving the employee the tools, training and fair chance to prove they can do a good job and want to keep their job.
From personal past experiences when we did not have a progressive discipline policy, I never knew where to draw the line and would end up giving poor performers more chances than needed, which took a toll on our practice (and created a lot of unnecessary stress). We have four steps in our discipline policy;
1. When a problem comes up, a verbal conversation is had with the employee explaining the problem, what the expected resolution of the issue is, re-training if necessary. Then a written description of what the issue was, the way it is to be resolved and the employee signs stating that they understand what is expected and have received any further direction in order to complete it satisfactory.
2. If the same issue needs to be addressed again it is first done with a verbal conversation reviewing what happened with the first offense and how it was to be resolved. Then a written warning is given to the employee stating the issue at hand has been addressed for a second time and now a written warning that it must stop has been given and the employee signs it.
3. Same issue, then a written final warning is given and signed.
4. Termination. (Much easier this way, not fun, but easier because the employee knew it was coming and had the opportunity to change things if they wished).
By having this simple policy in place it has made my job easier, because I now know what I have to do when issues arise and all of the employees also know because it is a written office policy. There are no surprises. I found the article below which talks about “your managerial toolbox” which I found very good. It also has a sample of a discipline letter that you can adapt to whatever the situation is that is worded great. Remember just by making a simple policy like what is above, it can save you so much time, headaches and hassles.