It is good business practice to develop written policies to deal with employee management issues. But, simply having workplace policies is not enough!
In order for the policies and procedures to work, you must consistently use and enforce them, or they quite literally aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.
Employees must be treated fairly. This is particularly important in businesses where family members and/or close friends run the company or organization. You absolutely must treat all employees in the same manner, following the workplace policies, whether they are related to you or not. Not only does this remove the perception of favouritism, but also sends the message that the workplace stands by it’s messaging.
All workplaces should have a progressive discipline policy in place to deal with infractions, and follow each step consistently. Connecting your discipline policy to your other policies dealing with Attendance Management, Social Media, Work Performance Standards and On-the-Job Behaviour can save thousands of dollars in unjust or wrongful dismissal costs.
Discipline bad behaviour immediately (the “hot stove rule”) otherwise the behaviour is deemed to be acceptable.
- Always document the date, time, and location of the incident.
- Record the specific performance issue or behaviour displayed.
- Ensure that the employee is aware of the consequences of his/her actions (not only for themselves, but for the organization and/or coworkers as well).
- Include in your discussion with the employee a reference to any previous discipline for the same or similar behaviour, the specific action(s) to be taken and the consequences of not improving, and
- Include a target/follow up date for action.
Make sure to document the employee’s reaction to your conversation, whether it’s good, bad or neutral.
After you discipline an employee, if the behaviour or performance issue is not corrected or does not improve, this could result in termination of employment. Keeping accurate records ensures that you will deal with the infractions in a consistent manner and that you will have a solid record of the reasons for termination when the employee challenges your decision.
A lot of research has been done to show that consistent enforcement of workplace policies leads to a happier work culture, which in turn leads to increases in productivity and innovation.