Employee discipline is an important parameter impacting the decorum of any workplace. It’s the prerogative of the HR to resolve employee challenges and issues while helping wedge differences between management-employees or employee-employee.
What Role Does the HR Play?
Human Resources are certainly the most important asset of an organization. Driven by emotions, they are also significantly complicated. The HR department has a tough task at hand managing this important resource.
Most supervisors or managers try to avoid being part of a disciplinary meeting involving their subordinate/s. It isn’t easy for them to issue reprimands. However, the situation could be dealt better if it wasn’t made out to be like that. The HR personnel act as a liaison between the management and employees, engaging them in smoother communication or implementing the final decisions.
Setting Employee Expectations
Per the situation, an HR can strategize better to align its employee meeting as a goal based feedback. Neither would that seem a reprimand or punishment, nor would it turn out negatively. Using such an opportunity as a positive tool to reinforce a sense of acceptance for something that he/she did, the employee will have a lot to take home.
HR must publish a clear code of conduct, schedule regular performance/disciplinary reviews, and make it a point to document all disciplinary concerns. Working their way forwards in a well-informed and systemized manner can help the HR stay positive.
Dealing with Disciplinary Concerns
Once the organizational code of conduct is in place, it leaves no room of uncertainty for anyone. HR must keep the employee discipline in check by taking immediate actions for any misdemeanor at the workplace. Once this is avoided, employees tend to ignore the established code, which might give rise to problems at a later stage. For instance, the concerned employee might repeat the same behavior, or others might follow suit, or it might be considered as a biased response.
There are many ways of dealing with such a situation:
The HR might call in for a one-on-one with the concerned employee and issue a verbal warning. The extent of the situation can guide the HR better to elaborate on the policies that were sidelined by the employee; he could be informed of the reprimands; how the behavior is unacceptable, etc.
All of the above could be followed up by sharing a timeframe for improvement with the employee and a follow-up basis that. This might include a peer and senior review.
- In any given circumstance the HR needs to keep it civil and professional: tone and demeanor
- The warning must always be filed in the employee service records for future reference
- Even when the HR follows all of the above steps, there could be situations that escalate, instead of getting subdued. In those scenarios, the HR should always be prepared to deal with repeat misdemeanor.
- A written warning seems to adopt the correct approach in this situation
- The employee can further be called to attend a disciplinary meeting in presence of superiors and HR Heads
Since the HR department must always be people focused, in the above scenario as well, the employee must be allowed the opportunity to share concerns from his side. There could be a way out of the situation if his/her concerns seem genuine. Even if not, the employee could still be encouraged and motivated to improve upon the performance or discipline issues, in line with the bigger company policies. Such a meeting can also give rise to an elaborate Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) to be drafted for the employee.
Once a PIP is established for the employee, it becomes easier to track his future actions and corrective responses. The step lays ground to measurable goals. This is, in turn, makes future decision making, in concern of the employee very simple.
Understand the Background
For HR, it is very important to stay true to his role. He should be as people focused, as he is loyal to the organization. To give a fair chance to the employee in question, every action must follow an empathetic, yet systemized pattern
- Review the past records to check if the employee displayed similar behaviors before, how was the situation handed, was there a PIP in place?
- Conduct the one-on-one discussion in a professional manner. Given the need to take strict action to elaborate on the details of the event with facts and figures and highlight the warning in ‘red’ with specific details on consequences.
- The employee must always be given a fair opportunity to share his side of the story
- Objectives that are drafted for the future must be acceptable to the employee and recorded in his file
- The employee must be provided with a copy of the expectations
- A follow-up meeting must be planned to check on the corrective actions taken
It is evident that HR has a tough role to play towards the organization’s overall functioning. However, it is a fulfilling one that helps employees sail through the regular hiccups smoothly, while enjoying their work with the employer.
Author Bio – Aditya Singhal is the co-founder of CrunchGrade, an online tutoring platform for students. It is his passion and vision to incorporate technology with education to help students not just thrive but excel through e-learning mediums and tools. He had worked with Kurt Salmon Associates, a reputed American Management Consultancy. Reach out to him on Facebook, LinkedIn here!