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addressing employee discipline issues

Addressing Employee Discipline Issues

You finally have your dream business off the ground and running. Your hard work has paid off and you now have a staff of some thirty employees. Then, out of nowhere, you have an employee who is showing unacceptable behavior in the workplace and is now in violation of your company policy. You have been watching the situation for a while, but now another employee has brought it to your attention, placing you in a position to address the issue.

Unfortunately, having to put in place a progressive employee discipline policy is now the norm. While it is always in the best interest of both management and employees to quickly address any unacceptable behavior in the workplace and to have it immediately corrected, addressing the issue can become quite challenging.

Following are some reasons to address this issue sooner than later:

  • If you have noticed the employee’s behavior is in breach of company policy, know for a surety that his/her co-workers are also aware of the issue and may become negatively impacted by the unacceptable behavior.
  • When left unchecked, employee morale amongst the other staff can and will begin to suffer.
  • When employee morale begins to suffer in the workplace it sends a message to others that the employee NOT following company policy has been given a “green light” by management or company owners to continue the same unacceptable behavior.
  • A familiar adage states and loosely quoted as “one bad apple CAN spoil the batch.” In other words, the employee in violation of company policy may encourage other employees to practice the same unacceptable behavior!

Following are a few first steps you may want to immediately put in place to dispel the behavior of the employee in violation of company policy:

  • Documentation is a MUST! Document any unacceptable behavior committed by the employee that YOU have personally witnessed.
  • Document any information that has been shared with you by other co-workers regarding the employee in violation. It would be helpful for others to witness the unacceptable behavior to write up their own version and sign it.
  • You may want to schedule a meeting promptly to address the issue of the violation in an open forum with your entire staff in hopes that the employee in violation will recognize they are at fault and immediately begin to correct the behavior. Again, be sure to document all material discussed in the open meeting.
  • If the actions of the employee in violation persist, you then may wish to address the employee in a confidential setting with a verbal warning that the behavior must change immediately. Again, document!
  • Any continuation of unacceptable behavior from this point could and may lead to the employee’s termination if you have been unsuccessful in resolving the issue through other progressive means.

REMEMBER to use available resources, namely your Human Resources Department, which should be your FIRST place of reference when addressing employee disciplinary issues within the workplace.

* Please note: there are some violations that require immediate action including termination.

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