In this video, learn the role of HR in the discipline process. Human resources consultant and trainer Catherine Mattice explains the the importance of consistency and documentation. She covers how to implement a step disciplinary procedure and demonstrates good and bad discipline techniques.
- One of the best parts about being in Human Resources is the ability to help employees grow, and sometimes that involves learning from mistakes. At first it might seem like disciplining people is an undesirable task. But understand that there are benefits to using your disciplinary procedures, such as increased performance, better behavior, and avoiding terminations. You play the supporting role in the process of discipline. Managers and supervisors take the lead. You first step is to help them see discipline as a benefit and not a horrifying task.
An employee can't improve if they aren't aware that they have an issue. Your next step is to help them remain consistent. It is very important that if two people commit the same crime, so to speak, that they receive the same discipline. If they don't, you will be demonstrating unfairness to your staff and you could get into trouble for discrimination or harassment. Also help managers and supervisors document and then document some more. If anyone decides to sue you for a wrongful discipline or termination, the documentation backing up your decisions will be critical.
And for that reason, any decisions you make must be based on facts only. Managers and supervisors must also be sure that their employees are aware of expectations for behavior and performance, and the consequences if those expectations aren't met. And that leads us right to the step-disciplinary procedure. Take a peek at your corporate policy handbook to confirm it does lay out this process. The first step should be a conversation. You policy might label this as a verbal warning. But what it really means is open dialog about solutions so the employee can improve and move forward.
No one will sign any type of form on this one but the manager or supervisor will need to write you an email describing the conversation or save it on their own computer. If the behavior doesn't change within a specified amount of time, your procedure likely moves to a written warning, and then a final warning, and then termination of employment. You should provide your managers and supervisors with a blank form to fill out when they have these conversations. You can find a template in the Exercise Files for this course. You might also attend these conversations as an observer.
Sometimes, if the infraction warrants it, you might skip over a step or two as you see fit. But again, that decision must be backed up by documentation and a clear explanation of why you skip some steps. For example, in a call center I used to work for we had two people making personal phone calls on their company phone while they were clocked in and working. One of them went through a disciplinary process from verbal warning on up and eventually was fired. I guess he couldn't help himself. The other went straight from zero to final warning because her personal phone call was sexual in nature and overheard by the person in the cubicle next door.
So what about these conversations? Are you a little nervous to be a part of discipline? Let's take a look at some examples of disciplinary conversations and then discuss some of the key elements, and review what needs improvement. Lily, some people have been telling me that you've been pretty rude to customers, so I'm going to have to give you a verbal warning. - They have? Who? When? - It looks like I was missing that factual evidence on that one. I can't use "some people have said" as a reason to give a verbal warning. I was also pretty vague with the word "rude".
What does rude mean exactly? Let's try this again. All right, so Lily, yesterday I was walking by your desk and I heard you sounded pretty frustrated with a customer and I think I even heard you say "Get over it" to the customer. So I wanted to talk with you a little bit more about that. So what happened? - Well, the customer was just rude to me. She was yelling and talking to me like I'm an idiot. - Okay. All right, so I know that's frustrating when a customer talks to you that way. I know it's hurtful. But we always have to keep in mind that customers are calling us because they want our help.
And so the best way to resolve that frustration is to get them the help that they need. So let's talk about what happened, and we can work through it, and then we can kind of troubleshoot some ideas so that the next time you're able to solve it. - Okay, I hear you. Here is what the issue was with her account. - There's a few things I'd like to point out. First, I used concise language that described exactly what happened. I provided factual information in detail. This keeps the employee from arguing with me and it gives clear information about what is wrong.
Second, I described the impact of the behavior. In this case the impact is unhappy customers and perhaps even lost customers. This helps employees understand why you're asking them to make a change. Third, by asking what happened and by offering to help work through the customer's issue, I set this conversation up as a dialogue so that we could solve the problem. I'm offering myself as a resource to make a change, rather than saying, "You did this wrong "and you must fix it." To recap, use clear and descriptive language as you lay out the facts.
Offer insight into why that behavior or performance level is unacceptable and see any disciplinary conversation, no matter what step you're on, as a chance to work together to improve. Finally, offer up yourself and anything else that makes sense as a resource. Perhaps a book, workshop, coaching, or even a mentor from within the organization, can help the employee get what they need to change.
HR consultant Catherine Mattice outlines some of the considerations of the human resources professional, such as balancing the needs of employees with the interests of the organization. She reveals how to conduct an HR audit to identify HR practices that need improvement. She then outlines core HR responsibilities: staffing, training, documentation, compensation and benefits, performance reviews, job descriptions, compliance with state and federal regulations, and more.
- Building trust with employees
- Conducting an HR audit
- Classifying employees
- Setting up compensation and benefits
- Creating and enforcing company policies
- Writing job descriptions
- Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees
- Managing employee performance
- Training employees
- Disciplining employees