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Employee Discipline Techniques

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The idea of discipline needs to be refined in the workplace. This article will explore some ideas for changing discipline structure in the workplace. Most people think of discipline as a negative consequence that is given for poor performance or behavior. This opinion is egregious and does not allow for employees or supervisor to learn from the situation.

Discipline should never be considered as punitive action early on. The phrase “corrective action” should be used to describe the situation where an employee may miss a deadline or not follow protocol. Often, an employee may cut corners because they were under time constraints. On other occasions, an employee may simply not be using their time effectively. Instead of viewing the situation as a disciplinary confrontation, the supervisor should view the situation as an opportunity to protect the company’s investment of time and financial resources in the employee. This type of attitude can often lead to a learning moment. The employee can learn how to do better next time and the supervisor can learn to give the employee better feedback and tools to do their job.

Corrective action or discipline is never a situation that should be escalated into a personal confrontation. The situation is about the task or procedure that they did not fulfill according to expectation. If you make the situation about the employee, they will not improve. Resentment will build between the employee, the supervisor, and the company. The situation will escalate into an HR problem. This type of confrontation is avoidable. Approach a corrective action session as an opportunity to build on the issue as a team. The ideal situation is when the employee works with you in order to find the root of the problem.

Be proactive about delivering corrective action. If you see a performance issue or something that has the likelihood of developing into a performance issue, address it right away. If an employee shows up late for work, for example, you can ask them in a non-confrontational way about their lateness. Consider the following way of addressing lateness: “I noticed you were late this morning. Is everything okay?” This sentence does two things. First of all, it lets the employee know that you are aware of their lateness. Secondly, it gives the employee room to explain why they were late and it may even lead to a discussion on what to do about it in the future. Failing to address inappropriate behavior in a timely manner will lead to a situation where it is perceived that poor performance is accepted. This is the first step down a road that undermines a team’s performance. Be progressive when addressing inappropriate behavior. The classic method for addressing inappropriate behavior is to identify the behavior and state why it is inappropriate. When you do this as a manager, choose your words so that the conversation is about the behavior and not the employee.

Finally, make sure that you address the core cause of the inappropriate behavior or performance problem. Sometimes, a person may not be performing because of a medical or mental issue. A person could be falling asleep at work frequently. They could very well have a very serious medical issue and it needs to be brought to the attention of the supervisor immediately. Sometimes, a lack of performance may be the result of an issue within the company. For example, if someone is not making appointments on a timely basis, it could be the result of their CRM software and not the employee. Without identifying the core problem, the employee and supervisor will not be able to find a solution.

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