Disciplining an employee is a difficult decision for an employer or manager to face and equally being disciplined is very stressful for the recipient. However, disciplinary action is sometimes necessary to maintain the health of a business and the productivity and motivation of its workforce.
So before making a decision about whether to go down the disciplinary route with an employee, it can be helpful to have some guidelines to distinguish between an employee that needs extra help and one where disciplinary action is necessary.
Habitual lateness and absence
If lateness or absence is a perpetual problem with an employee, it’s important to first speak with them to establish whether there may be personal problems or workplace issues that can be addressed before making the decision to initiate the disciplinary process. However, if the conversations and processes do not resolve the issues, it will be time to follow the formal disciplinary process.
Apathy can be a sign that an employee isn’t feeling challenged enough, but it can also be a sign that an employee has given up on a company or is considering leaving. Before assuming that an employee has given up on their job, try to find out whether they are feeling unchallenged or whether they are overwhelmed and inadequately prepared to handle tasks. A simple conversation can often be instrumental in identifying the source.
Organisational performance can be unpredictable and multiple factors can influence it. However, if one employee’s performance has noticeably declined or is lagging way behind organisational trends, it can be concerning. Coaching or mentoring should be offered and if their performance still doesn’t improve then disciplinary action will be required.
If an employee is argumentative with colleagues or management, it may be because they are no longer satisfied with their job or are having personal problems that are affecting their work attitude. While employees should be encouraged to come up with creative solutions to problems, ideas should be expressed respectfully. Continual argumentative tones and behavioral issues should be addressed with disciplinary action.
Unwillingness to adapt to changes
Changes are bound to occur within any type of business, especially as technology develops and more efficient processes are discovered. While adapting to change is difficult for many, a complete unwillingness to make adjustments or a poor attitude about every change that’s introduced can be a warning sign that an employee isn’t going to fit into your company culture anymore.
Lack of development
If there are programs in place to educate employees and development is encouraged, a lack of development can be a warning sign that an employee is no longer as interested in or as loyal to your company as they may have been previously. While not every employee hopes to move into management, employees should at least show interest in learning about making developments relevant to their job. Employees that refuse to learn may burden a company.
I think the main point that we are trying to highlight here is that in the first instance you should always talk to your employees to establish if there are bigger issues at play, but if this doesn’t work as hard as it may be, disciplinary action may be necessary. If that is the case for you, then the one thing you must remember is disciplinary action is a formal process that must be followed correctly, or it can result in costly repercussions for your business.
If you are unsure whether disciplinary action is the right course of action or if the process you have in place is compliant or just need some advice, please get in touch, HR Revolution are here to help.