Despite everyone’s best efforts, sooner or later, а supervisor will be faced with а situation where an employee commits acts of misconduct. Creating and publishing policies and procedures for employee disciplinary action ensures that everyone knows what counts as misconduct and what happens when it is committed.
Here are some steps to follow when creating and using disciplinary plans:
1. Determine what counts as misconduct
Create a list of offenses that automatically result in immediate suspension or even termination, including harassing others, behaving violently in the workplace, drinking or drug use during work hours, threatening or bullying co-workers, misrepresenting themselves, stealing or violating safety regulations.
Such dangerous violations warrant immediate action. For less serious problems, such as missed deadlines, managers may provide an informal verbal warning to guide employees, followed by written reprimands. Managers could also create a Performance Improvement Plan.
Company policy dictates how many chances an employee gets to respond to both verbal and written feedback to modify their behavior and on-the-job performance.
2. Issue а written warning
Using а template like the ones on the Microsoft Office Templates website, managers (according to their HR plan) should list the employee’s name, the date and time of the incident and а description of the incident that violates company policies and procedures. If the incident represents а repeat offense, the manager may take more serious action than if the problem has occurred for the first time.
Depending on the severity of the problem, the manager may decide to reduce the employee’s pay, reduce the employee’s working hours or even fire the person. Additional sections may list specific actions, such as workshops, seminars or self-paced training material that the employee must complete before returning to work.
Employees should have the opportunity to dispute the warning. Both the employee and manager should sign the form.
3. Respond to substandard behavior
Minor breaches of the terms and conditions associated with employment may require the manager to develop warning procedures. These could include absenteeism, lateness, unacceptable attire or personal hygiene.
Managers should meet with the employee to come up with а strategy and time frame for addressing the offending behavior.
4. Document the communication
To avoid making а difficult situation worse, managers must document all communication with the employee and express а genuine interest in making the employee successful.
In the event that the decision is to terminate or layoff less productive employees, the documentation protects the company from legal action or other damage the employee might cause in retaliation for actions that may seem unfair.
Planning and coordination enables managers to create employee disciplinary procedures and carry out necessary actions. Establishing clear policies and procedures ensures that managers deal with all employees consistently.
By starting out with а verbal warning and by giving written warnings and documenting all communication, managers help employees understand the rules of conduct. Additionally, а clear code of ethics makes for а safe, productive workplace full of successful employees.
About Kellie Boysen – Owner, Alternative HR:
Kellie Boysen is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) with more than a decade of HR experience. She owns Alternative HR, a local human resource consulting and outsourcing organization that is dedicated to providing small business owners with an affordable alternative to hiring a full-time HR professional.