Disciplining employees can be one of the most dreaded tasks facing any manager or small business owner. Not only must the disciplinary practice be consistent and effective, but in smaller organizations, where workers often wear many different hats and fulfill multiple roles, additional challenges may present. Obviously, hiring the best candidates for your organization and most qualified for the position helps, but beyond that, how can the need for disciplinary actions be reduced or handled in the most appropriate manner? Here are four best practices to follow at your small business when it comes to employee discipline.
Four Employee Discipline Best Practices
- Have an employee handbook. First and foremost, define your company's policies, along with acceptable and unacceptable workplace behavior. By clearly explaining and giving examples of the types of behavior that are expected, you'll set the standard from the very beginning of the employee's lifecycle for behavior and discipline in your workplace.
- Document each and every infraction. Be certain to make a clear record of what happened, save it in the employee’s file and clearly communicate it with the employee. Documentation should be thought of as an insurance policy for the company, so to speak. If an employee challenges the actions taken against him/her by the organization due to poor performance or behavior issues, a clear record of what happened and the steps that were taken can help stop lawsuits from advancing beyond the preliminary stages.
- Be consistent. Inevitably, managers will have different types of relationships with different employees. However, if one employee has an incident that merits rebuke, it’s important to use the same corrective measures for every other employee who displays the same unacceptable behavior. Further, if an employee makes the same mistakes repeatedly, each occurrence must be addressed.
- Consult a professional. When in doubt about the best approach to a disciplinary action. contact an HR professional for assistance in how to proceed and/or how something should be documented.
At Axcet HR Solutions our professional Human Resources Consultants work with our clients to help guide them – to best serve the company and the employee – when disciplinary issues arise.