Dealing with Your Problem Employee

Nobody likes disciplining employees.  Well, … perhaps that’s not true.  But to be honest, I’m not sure I’d want to employ too many supervisors who LOVE engaging in disciplinary actions.  But, like it or not, it’s critical to the success of your company that progressive disciplinary procedures are understood, followed, and applied in a timely, fair, and consistent manner.   If you value your employees who are meeting expectations — showing up on time, not wasting the day on gossip, following through on procedures, etc. —  don’t give them a reason to believe that a solid work ethic and good habits are optional at your workplace.  Ignoring disciplinary problems might even be a disservice to the offenders themselves … many of whom have simply conformed to a perceived threshold of tolerated behavior.  It does them little good to tolerate them out of a job.  As for the true reprobates, it does you no good to prolong a well-documented departure.

ConsultStu can help, with customized, affordable HR on demand.  If you don’t have a written progressive discipline policy, we can write one for you.  If you like, we can give a quick training presentation to your supervisors on constructive discipline, conflict resolution, and following company policy.  When disciplinary situations arise, here are some benefits of our services:

  • Adds a degree of third-party objectivity and provides some oversight to ensure that first line supervisors and lower management levels are being fair, clear, consistent, non-abusive and non-discriminatory.   We will also make sure managers are not “negotiating” behavioral changes in ways that could be mistaken for contractual promises.
  • Things will get written down that weren’t previously documented, and this can include what has already transpired.  Many times our clients need to be reminded that it’s okay to write down statements retroactively, which can serve as a starting point of evidence: describe previous episodes of problem behavior, verbal feedback or coaching, employee meetings, etc.  Include dates and details whenever possible, and ask the employee to acknowledge or give an explanation of any disagreement.
  • Assumptions will be avoided.  Never presume the employee is aware of what he/she did wrong or that it is unacceptable behavior.  Even if you have addressed conduct in your Employee Handbook, and gotten a signed acknowledgment… it is ALWAYS best to write a brief individualized description of any incidents or counseling, to be acknowledged by both employee and supervisor.
  • Proper and methodical documentation made easier with our templates.   If you task a busy supervisor to figure out how to document a problem behavior, don’t be surprised if one employee file contains a couple of cryptic sentences, and another employee’s file contains a five-page outpouring of pent-up frustration that sounds like a vendetta.
  • Be better prepared for Florida re-employment claims.  Many terminations do result in benefits being charged to the employer, but we make every effort to utilize the most effective language in policies, interpretation,  disciplinary documentation and unemployment claim responses,  in order to reduce chargeable claims.

Using fractional HR to assist with disciplinary documents, meetings, and procedures will level the employee experience and improve the company’s effectiveness.

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