This is one of the quirkier elements of an HR’s job. Many a time, we are called upon to perform unpleasant duties, and disciplining employees, especially the senior ones, is one of them.
What is disciplining?
Let us begin at the beginning. “Discipline” is one of the oft-repeated phrases in the corporate environment. In simple terms, disciplining can be understood as the act of changing or tuning an employee’s attitude or behavior to bring it in line with that of the organization. Why employees need disciplining is evident from this explanation. It is when the organization feels that an employee or employees’ thinking is out of sync with the organization’s goals and vision that disciplining comes in.
Stages of disciplining
Disciplining has to be done in stages, depending on the degree of employee deviation from the organization’s vision. The more misaligned the management and HR feel the employee’s outlook is with that of the organization; the higher will be the degree of disciplining. Setting rules for behavior is the first step to gauge deviation, because we cannot take actions against anyone in a vacuum. Every action has to be evaluated in relation to some set parameter or value system. Effective senior management usually brings about self-discipline, but when it doesn’t work, some concrete steps need to be taken.
Experts agree that there is a series of disciplining measures. It usually follows this course:
- Informal warnings
- Formal verbal warning
- Written warning
Effective disciplining works best when it is focused on the act and not on the individual. It is to be seen as some kind of inoculation, as it a preventive measure against what could become an incorrigible problem at a later stage.
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