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Performance Improvement and Discipline

by John Murphy - 26 Jul 2022, Tuesday 270 Views Like (0)
Performance Improvement and Discipline

In an ideal world, there would be no need to learn how to properly discipline employees, because everyone would always do their job with complete ease. Let's face it, this is not the case in life, despite the best efforts, sooner or later the manager may need to work with an employee who has performance problems. Unfortunately, many managers still do not understand the importance of documentation. Documentation not only helps the manager and employee in the process of improving productivity and discipline, but also protects the company from possible litigation.


If you're dealing with performance issues and not attendance or some other policy violation, the process is a bit more complicated. When an employee's performance declines, don't wait until you're ready to fire them before you react and fix the problem. Most likely, even if you are at the moment when you want to fire a person, you will not be able to do this if you did not talk to him or did not document your conversations. Any lawyer will tell you that without documentation, you have no legal backing, and if the documentation never made it to the employee's file, it might not exist. While there are legal reasons for documenting, discussions and conversations should be documented for fairness to the employee. Employees should also be given the opportunity to correct performance improvement plan fair work that is degraded or below par without fear of negative repercussions before they are penalized.


Once you have realized that there is a performance issue, or if someone is having attendance issues, or even if an employee is not showing proper behavior, you can kick start them in a productivity plan. When you launch someone into a productivity plan, don't include verbosity that is threatening; the whole idea is to improve performance so you don't have to drive down the disciplined road. If it's something as simple as attendance, then a document outlining what needs to be improved will be relatively simple. However, with this type of problem, it is important to start a dialogue with the employee to find out why he cannot start work. This is especially useful if something has changed, for example, an employee's attendance has always been good, and then all of a sudden the employee starts to be absent. This is not the right time to jump on an employee and immediately threaten discipline, you need to figure out what's going on, help if you can, and then get the employee back on track. You also don't have to drag it out for months, attendance problems will either improve immediately or you will involve the employee in the discipline process.


If the issue under consideration is performance related or a specific behavioral issue, the performance improvement document should state what needs to be done to improve performance and by when. Be as specific as you need to be so that the employee knows exactly how to improve. You should discuss the improvement plan with the employee and then write down what was agreed to give a copy to the employee and place one copy on their file. Performance issues take time to improve, so make sure you set a reasonable amount of time to improve. To make sure you're objective, ask yourself if any reasonable employee can make the changes you request in the allotted time. If the answer is no, then you better reconsider the time frame.


Let’s say the improvement plan doesn’t produce the expected results, the employee simply doesn’t improve enough, and it becomes obvious that nothing will change. Now you will need to start the discipline process. Typically, companies issue two written warnings and a final written warning before being fired, but it is also acceptable to issue one written warning, a final written warning, and then dismissal. The key is to be consistent within the company and decide what suits your company culture.


In the warning document, list other conversations or Performance improvement plan employee rights, including the dates these conversations took place. Then be very specific about what needs to be improved, by when, and what happens if there is no improvement. “If improvement does not occur within the allotted time, this will lead to further disciplinary action up to and including termination.” This is not intended to avoid using the second or third warning; however, there are times when something serious enough to cause termination occurs.


Make sure all forms have a place for a manager's signature, a place for an employee's signature, and a date. This will help to make sure that the employee has seen these documents, and he cannot claim that he was never spoken to about his work. If someone refused to sign the document, you must ask the third party to confirm this by signing the document and stating that the employee refused to sign. This brings us to another point. There should be a third person in the room during discussions about discipline. If you have an HR specialist, then this is a logical choice, if you do not have one, another manager or supervisor can replace him. The purpose of having a witness is twofold: you prevent problems in the future. road, and you can also help prevent emotional outbursts or false accusations.