Managing staff with HR Hound

HR Hound makes sure your policies and process comply with current law

When do we start the disciplinary process or, is it better, to keep on talking informally?

It really does depend on the nature of the problem and the factors affecting an employee’s behaviour. For example, an employee who has had an excellent track record in time keeping and attendance suddenly starts being late. It would be a very harsh employer who starts off the process of discipline without trying to resolve the issue informally by chatting it through first.

Managing poor behaviour does not have to result in managing out of the door, but a clear message on what is acceptable and what will be dealt with formally helps your business and its employees to have clear guidelines that all can follow. Any form of informal management should have a clear plan attached to it so both sides know where they are, don’t be tempted to think an informal chat by a manager doing all the talking and the employee nodding will result in any changes at all!

What does need to be clear is the following:

* The boundaries of informal discussions and ensuring that an informal chat and agreement for action is documented so the employee knows and understands clearly they are not in disciplinary proceedings but are expected to change.
* If the matter has to proceed to disciplinary process that the correct process ( your documented disciplinary and grievance policy) is adhered to without exception.
* Those involved are properly trained to carry out the processes, its no good blaming the manager if the process is mishandled because they do not understand their obligations.
* Use HR advice early, don’t muddle through the process without getting advice on time either by phone or in writing.

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