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Employee Discipline in a Tough Economic Climate. Carol Pinkasavage, PHR www.hrstndassociates.com. Goal: Employee Retention of GOOD Employees. Must be pro-active effort Provide employees with clear objectives Communicate regularly Provide feedback regarding performance

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Employee discipline in a tough economic climate l.jpg

Employee Discipline in a Tough Economic Climate

Carol Pinkasavage, PHR


Goal employee retention of good employees l.jpg
Goal: Employee Retention of GOOD Employees

  • Must be pro-active effort

  • Provide employees with clear objectives

  • Communicate regularly

  • Provide feedback regarding performance

  • Recognize employees when they meet -- or exceed -- their goals and your expectations

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Documentation is Vital

  • Job Descriptions

  • Policies/Procedures

  • Performance Appraisals

  • Disciplinary Action

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Why Job Descriptions?

  • Recruitment

  • Training

  • Performance appraisals

  • Tool for ensuring compliance with FLSA

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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  • Company policies should be compliant & written in manual for supervisors

  • Policies should be condensed in Employee Handbook

  • Demonstrates compliance with new legislation

  • Review handbook annually

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Policies/Procedures must be Understood

  • Training for Supervisors:

    • new supervisors

    • new policies/procedures

    • retrain periodically

  • Employee Training -- get signature

    • new hire orientation

    • new policies/procedures

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Performance Appraisals

  • Establish objectives, expectations & performance management criteria for each position

  • Provide feedback on performance

  • Interactive between supervisor and employee

  • Employee development plan

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Employee Discipline

  • Develop ‘Standards of Conduct’

  • Document & communicate disciplinary procedures

  • HR role to ensure discipline is applied consistently and fairly

  • Training & retraining crucial

  • HR review of all discipline documentation BEFORE it is used

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Progressive Discipline?

  • Clear-cut steps for dealing with ongoing issue

  • Does not solve employee with variety of discipline issues

  • ‘Standards of Conduct’ list should state which acts are cause for immediate discharge

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Causes for Discipline

  • Poor performance

  • Poor attendance/tardiness

  • Violations of company policy

  • Dishonesty

  • Safety and Health Threats

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Poor Performance

  • Provide specific feedback to employee

  • Requires documentation of ‘gap’ and specific improvements actions & results

  • Ensure impartial and consistent treatment

  • Discharge of ‘protected’ employees requires careful records

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Poor Attendance and Tardiness

  • Is policy clear?

  • Distinguish between excused and unexcused absence

  • Does a short run of good attendance wipe the slate clean?

  • Document ALL absences and tardiness

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Violation of Company Policy

  • Are all company policies clearly outlined in handbook?

  • Ensure consequences are clear

  • Document distribution of policies to employees

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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  • Don’t tolerate dishonesty

  • Base decisions on solid evidence

  • Consider developing Code of Ethics

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Safety and Health Threats

  • Violations of Safety policies/procedures

  • Violations of Drug/Alcohol policy

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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  • Get all facts behind incidents

  • Document all interviews conducted

  • Consider individual extenuating circumstances

  • Distinguish between isolated incident and pattern of behavior

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Is Termination the Right Course of Action?

  • Can employee be ‘saved’?

  • Is decision impartial and consistent with decisions in similar situations?

  • Does ‘punishment fit the crime’?

  • Consider all ramifications:

    • vulnerability to suit/discrimination charge

    • impact on organization with loss of employee

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Are There Reasonable Alternatives?

  • Reassignment to another position

  • Additional training

  • Use of Employee Assistance Program

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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When it’s Safe to Discharge

  • For acts listed in employee handbook as cause for discharge

  • For acts listed in the employee handbook as cause for discharge following progressive discipline steps

  • Continued poor performance following warnings, performance appraisals, etc outlining issue and providing opportunity and guidelines for employee to correct

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Termination Preparation

  • Make full use of performance appraisals

  • Keep detailed documents

  • Ensure disciplinary documents are signed by employee

  • Have witness to progressive discipline meetings as steps progress

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Involuntary Termination Checklist

  • Review situation with HR before taking action

  • Ensure that appropriate documentation exists

  • Review entire case as impartial party, such as UC referee

  • Follow policy regarding final pay and benefits, COBRA

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.

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Desired Results

  • Rehabilitate ‘problem’ employees

  • Remove ‘hopeless’ employees

  • Redefine culture

  • Retain good employees as economy improves

HRS/TND Associates, Inc.