How to Take Appropriate Disciplinary Action in the Workplace
Disciplinary action should be handled in the most professional, ethical and legally justified manner. Managers might initially deal with problems in an informal manner in an attempt to give the individual(s) a chance to justify their actions before going forward with the disciplinary action process. For example, a manager or supervisor should speak directly with the person(s) displaying inappropriate conduct or inefficient job performance in a private closed-door meeting to find out why they are behaving inappropriately or the reason for unproductive job performance. Actually, this technique is in the best interest of the employee, because in some instances they are able to rectify the problem without resorting to mandated disciplinary action.
Human Resources- employee relations department should be proactive in ensuring that the company's procedures for disciplinary action are comprehensible to employees and that the basis for disciplinary action is fair. Employees should be made aware that an internal method of appeal is in place should they feel they were treated unfairly and encouraged to take advantage of this benefit. Otherwise, they are entitled to seek external legal counsel if they are not satisfied with the outcome in-house. Within reason, appropriate steps for disciplinary action should be: first, manager or supervisor should conduct an informal meeting with the employee (verbal warning), second, if unsatisfactory behavior or incompetence continues- manager should put all accusations and complaints in writing (include all job performances and unsatisfactory behaviors prior to disciplinary action), third, employee is given the opportunity to read and sign documents, and fourth, if inappropriate conduct or poor job performance continues, management and Human Resources should begin the disciplinary action process. Ultimately, an employee could be written-up, suspended, demoted, or terminated depending upon the circumstances. A minor offense could warrant a write-up, demotion, job transfer, or suspension and a more serious offense could warrant termination. All documents will remain in the individual's files and a copy should be forwarded to Human Resources. We must keep in mind that the main purpose for disciplinary action procedure is to make certain that a high-level of discipline and accountability is maintained within the company.
An organization’s effectiveness in handling disciplinary action in the final outcome is contingent upon management’s consistency and fairness of managing each occurrence. When management follows the proper procedures for disciplinary action, the ultimate effect is usually fitting for the company and the employee(s) involved.
Concluding, perhaps the best way to handle disciplinary issues might be to look into the performance deficiencies, unsatisfactory conduct (keep code of conduct manual handy), etc. way before things get-out-of-hand. Managers should identify the problem in a timely manner, and then determine the best way to solve it...taking appropriate disciplinary action. When problems are identified and solved in a timely manner, there will be lesser needs for disciplinary action in the workplace.