hr issues can stem from poor discipline and poor management

Poor discipline is the result of poor management

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Failing to take action for minor misconduct could blow up in your face!

Managers often avoid the conflict of disciplining employees for minor misdemeanours such as poor timekeeping, wastage, bad customer service, abuse of internet or cell phone privileges or failure to adhere to the company dress code, until they reach the point where they’ve had enough.

This frequently leads to an over-reaction and could result in unfair and inconsistent disciplinary action.

It is the responsibility of management to ensure that timeous and appropriate corrective action is taken and failing to do so is likely to result in a culture of indiscipline and will merely add to management frustrations.

When chairing disciplinary hearings related to labour legislation, we often hear from the initiator in aggravation that the accused is a problem employee and that he is frequently negligent, comes to work late or stays away without contacting the employer, yet there is no record of any disciplinary action which has been taken against the employee up to that point.

The initiator may sometimes even claim that he has spoken to the employee on numerous occasions about a particular offence, but without any record of such interaction, it may as well not have taken place at all, unless there is verbal testimony from a witness who can corroborate it.

It is also unfair toward the employee because the manager’s failure to decisively address the misconduct leads the employee to believe the manager does not see his behaviour as a problem or even that it is condoned.

In the absence of any form of consequence the employee is not encouraged to modify or correct his behaviour and may persist with the unacceptable conduct to the detriment of the business.

Having rules in place is only part of the solution. These rules need to be consistently applied and enforced.  Where management allows frequent breaches of the rules to go unchallenged, precedent is created and very soon a new, lower standard is established.

Fortunately, even lowered standards can be re-calibrated by drawing a proverbial line in the sand, re-establishing the desired standards and communicating these to all employees along with the consequences of non-compliance.

Being able to prove that this was done is critical to the success of such an exercise, which means it should preferably be in writing or, where it was done verbally (i.e. in a meeting), an attendance register should be kept as proof of who was present at the time of the communication.

Let Pro-Act HR & IR Consultants train your line managers and supervisors on how to handle day-to-day misconduct in an effective and compliant manner.