Top Tips on How to Manage an Ill Disciplined Employee

Having to discipline someone in the workplace can be a stressful issue for both managers and other employees too. It is no longer about dominance and compliance where bosses and their appointed managers “lord it over” the workforce using a stick and carrot approach to wring the very best out of the workforce. Businesses are encouraged (if not legally compelled) to take a far more understanding approach to the needs and welfare of their workforces. So how much leeway does a business have and what measures can be taken in managing an ill-disciplined employee?

In this article, we will take a closer look at the scope and responsibilities that a business has in dealing with such employees and best practice for carrying them out.

Making sure that a clear procedure is already in place

Without invoking the old adage about “shutting the stable door after the horse has already bolted” the first part of dealing with discipline at work lies in already having written and understood the disciplinary procedure in place.

Ensuring that every employee agrees to have read and fully understood such a document is also crucial to how valid it can be when it comes to the crunch. New employees should agree to, and sign to acknowledge that they have fully understood their responsibilities. They should also agree that they fully understand the process that can be utilized in instances of any identified breaches of discipline at work. Companies such as deal in all aspects of correct HR and the documentation your business needs.

Considering the employee’s situation

As already mentioned, employers have certain responsibilities under workplace laws in ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of their HR in the workplace. Your businesses’ human resources are probably one of its most valuable assets and owners/managers are expected to treat their employees in a dignified and understanding way.

If an employee is displaying uncharacteristic behaviors that are manifesting in poor discipline there may be an underlying reason that warrants at least some investigation and this is the best place to start. This could also be the best time to bring the issue to the employee’s attention and offer them an opportunity to modify the behavior that is at issue.

From tardiness and lack of productivity to actual conflict with management and work colleagues, they could all be signs of another less obvious problem that the employee in question is struggling to deal with.

The next steps

Many disciplinary issues at work can be resolved in an atmosphere of understanding and agreement between the employee and the management but there will be occasions where such an approach fails. If the employee in question refuses to cooperate or the behavior persists, it will then be necessary to trigger the standard disciplinary process.

The first step is to invite the person involved in an informal meeting of the management to discuss the issue. The employee should be allowed to bring at least one other person along to collaborate that his meeting is conducted in a fair and unbiased way.

At this point, a verbal notice should be issued stating that continuation of the behavior/ behaviors will escalate the situation to the level of a formal written warning. If it goes beyond that, suspension or summary dismissal is the next step in the disciplinary process.

Maintaining an open door policy

While it may not always be easy to remain emotionally detached when dealing with an individual who may be seen to be damaging your business, it is important to ensure that the channels of communication stay open. Businesses that treat even an ill-disciplined employee with respect and dignity will be sending the right kind of messages out to the rest of the workforce.

It almost goes without mention, of course, that all employees must be seen to be treated equally and consistently in line with your businesses’ disciplinary policies and procedures.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan