In the News: Top 20 Employee Discipline Tips from the Pros

Published on fitsmallbusiness.com

By Anna Dizon on January 31, 2018

Featuring Jennifer Mazzanti, CEO, eMazzanti Technologies (#12)

When employee behavior does not meet company standards or expectations, it directly affects profitability. There are a number of ways to maintain your employees’ focus and prevent counterproductive behavior, but not all measures work for all businesses. If you feel uncertain on what to do when facing behavioral issues with employees, then this article is for you.

We asked experts to share their tips on how to handle employee discipline issues in the workplace and listed them for you below.

Here are the top 20 employee discipline tips from the pros.

1, Point to specific examples when addressing negative behavior.

Nate Masterson, Marketing Manager, Maple Holistics

As a manager, it’s important that you know how to address an employee’s negative behavior or disruptive actions in a way that’s constructive yet also reinforces the seriousness of the matter at hand. When addressing an employee’s actions, it’s important to be specific. This may even mean providing physical evidence of the employees’ deeds (or lack thereof) in case they’re being defensive. Depending on the seriousness of the issue at hand, it may also be advisable to have the meeting in a private space with another senior official at the company. This may help to stress the seriousness of the matter without having to say anything and will allow you to explain why the employee’s actions (or lack thereof) were detrimental to both him/herself and their fellow employees in a way that’s calm and easy for them to understand.

2. Address small problems before they become big problems.

Lisa Sansom, Positive Interventionist, LVS Consulting

When there is a small problem, course correct in a kind, mentoring way as soon as you possibly can. Behaviour that a business owner ignores is essentially condoned and approved behaviour.

When correcting small issues, there is a “formula” that small business owners can follow: ensure that it is a good time to talk, ensure that you are in a good space – somewhere quiet and private, state the incorrect behaviour and preferred behavior factually, ask the employee if they have any questions about your expectations and clarify, and ask the employee if anything is getting in their way to do the expected behaviour and offer your assistance. Finally, monitor and praise the proper behaviour.

3. Have regular 1 on 1s with your reports.

Eng. Cristian Rennella, CEO & CoFounder, elMejorTrato.com

In our company, every employee has two meetings per year with his or her boss to be able to deal with discipline issues and day-to-day issues at work. We also recognize the importance of how we transmit, communicate, and share ideas with our team constantly. Because of this, we have successfully dealt with unwanted employee behavior by being able to find a solution in a timely manner. Additionally, this strategy allowed us to improve the retention of personnel in our company. Bottom line is, if you want to have excellent work discipline, then you must invest your own time as the owner, boss or leader with your employees.

4. Lead by example.

Rudeth Shaughnessy, Sr. Editor, Copy My Resume

When I was working at a tech startup, I was amazed at the discipline exhibited by the CEO. The office was modern, with glass walls and big open spaces, so employees, project managers, and the CEO could all interact on the same level. The CEO was also disciplined about being in the office before most other employees and leaving exactly at 6 p.m everyday. I asked him about this once, and he said he didn’t want employees to feel pressured into working late simply because he was there. By leaving precisely at 6 everyday, he wanted to set the precedent. A combination of transparency and leading by example is how companies can establish employee discipline without even having to verbally say anything.

5. Add a physical activity to the daily schedule.

Alessandra Sollberger, Founder & CEO, Evermore

When it comes to engaging employees and keeping their discipline up, we’ve found that it helps to start the day with something that mixes productivity and fitness (done in the office). For example, we get the team to do a squat by the wall and run through their daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Physical effort increases focus / willpower and releases endorphins! The team loves it. Here’s more info about the science behind it, as I’ve actually developed this into a Fitness + Purpose method.

6. Let employees see what their peers are working on.

Fiona Adler, Founder, Actioned – simple productivity for teams

7. Observe legally sound guidelines.

David Miklas, Employment Lawyer, Law Office of David Miklas, P.A.

8. Be consistent in applying the rules.

Damon Burton, President & Founder, SEO National

9. Tailor your approach to the nature & severity of the problem.

Mirande Valbrune, Senior Employee Relations and Compliance (ER) Professional

10. Establish & regularly monitor operations workflow.

Jason Patel, Founder, Transizion

11. Define the problem in a simple way.

Monica Eaton-Cardone, Co-Founder & COO, Chargebacks911

12. Offer free lunch.

eMazzanti Technologies CEO Jennifer MazzantiJennifer Mazzanti, CEO & Co-Founder, eMazzanti Technologies

We run an IT services company with a modest support team. We never know when we will encounter a bulge in our call volume. Employees leaving the building for lunch decreases our ability to respond to all calls within five minutes. Plus, people are often gone for more than their allotted time. So, we buy our employees lunch—every day! One person takes orders for one or more team members from nearby restaurants and delivers lunches to employees’ desks. Employees like the benefit and tend to be more available for mid-day calls.

13. Develop a coaching/counseling memo.

Robin Schwartz, Managing Partner, MFG Jobs

Employee disciplinary proceedings can get confusing fast. To formalize the process and ensure proper documentation, develop a coaching/counseling memo or tool that documents the first step taken in the process. Within the memo, the areas of concerns should be clear as well as expectations on improving the issues. This allows business owners to quantify where they are in the employee discipline process and ensures they have records should they need them in the future.

14. Lean on company culture

Kean Graham, CEO, MonetizeMore

When an employee has violated one of our rules, has underperformed, or has acted against the best interest of the company, we lean on our company culture doc in our communication with them. We mention how they have acted against the company culture and if they were to face a similar situation again, how someone who vouches for the company culture would have acted. If the infringement was significant enough, we give a warning. A third warning is followed by termination.

15. Treat friends in the workplace like everyone else.

16. Get in the right mindset.

17. Clarify your policies in your employee handbook.

18. Handle employee theft claims fairly.

19. Get to the root of employee absenteeism.

20. Resolve workplace conflicts according to the cause.

Over to You

It should be the goal of employee discipline to help employees become better. Knowing how to discipline employees will ultimately affect your company’s performance and productivity. If you feel like there is room to improve your process, then try one of our expert tips listed above.

Would you like to share your own employee discipline tips? Let us know by leaving your comments below.

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