Handling employee discipline
Creating a discipline policy is not going to be enough in today's world. Employees like to push the envelope and they like to see what they can get away with. This new generation of employees can be frustrating to manage, especially when it comes to employee discipline. If you haven't dealt with discipline much, here are some helpful tips designed specifically for you.
Tip # 1 - Identify the problem
The first thing you need to do is to decide what the problem is with a certain employee. Are they struggling to turn their work in on time or is the quality of their work diminishing? If this is the case, you want to discipline them based on their performance rather than insubordination. When an employee neglects the basic rules of the company like coming in tardy often, taking long lunches, making too many personal phone calls at work, you need to follow the disciplinary action of insubordination.
Tip # 2 - Keep a record
Each day you need to observe your employees and keep records of the things you notice. This will help you when you confront the employee about the little lies they may use to cover up the real reason why they were late or the reason why they took a long lunch. If something happens once, it is forgivable but when you start to see a pattern of bad behavior, you will need to address it.
Tip # 3 - Confront the employee
This is going to be hardest part for some managers. Confronting people may not be your favorite thing to do but as a manager, it is your responsibility and duty to the organization. Call the employee into your office and briefly explain to them what the problem is. Give the employee an opportunity to defend themselves and say their peace about the problem. Once they have done so, set a goal together that will help the employee overcome this behavior or performance problem. Write down the goal and then come up with a disciplinary action you can both agree upon. Flat out ask the employee what course of action they think is fair such as docking their pay, eliminating vacation hours, etc. Once you both agree upon the disciplinary action that will arise if they do not live up to the contract you made, have them sign it and then you need to sign it. You both need a copy of the contract so you can pull it out if the employee violates it and you are faced with harsh punishment or termination of the employee.
Tip # 4 - Prevention
You need to hold regular meetings to address some of the issues that you may be noticing within the organization. Let your employees know what behaviors are acceptable and which ones are inexcusable. Give each employee a copy of your performance and behavioral policies and email it to them as well. Ask your employees to read over these policies, sign a contract paper that states they agree to the terms and disciplinary action of the policy if they are caught violating the policy. Good documentation is important to protect yourself and the business. When you are firm about the policy, your employees will take it seriously. If you notice they are starting to walk a thin line between the policy and going over the edge, call them into your office and try to help them quickly correct the action before they end up facing punishment.
Tip # 5 - Be firm
Since you are the manager, you need to be firm. You don't have to rule your staff with an iron fist, but they do need to know who is in charge of the business and they need to fear violating the policy.