Disciplinary procedures are a normal, yet important part of any workplace, regardless of size. However, across different businesses, the disciplinary procedures and when they are used can differ a lot. This can be due to a number of factors, including accepted standards of behaviour or the approach of the owner or manager.
For smaller businesses, managing employees with disciplinary procedures can be impacted by a lack of experience in dealing with issues, or an ingrained set of generally accepted standards by which employees act. In larger businesses, new employees will be able to understand what they can and cannot do from the onboarding process, but also how their colleagues act around them. Additionally, those in management will likely have dealt with a number of varied disciplinary issues and have clear strategies in dealing with them.
Small business owners and managers can take various steps in managing disciplinary procedures. Throughout our experience, we have identified a number of things that small business employers can do to minimise risk and improve their disciplinary procedures.
Part of establishing how employees should act is having clearly defined policies that outline expectations for behaviour, and importantly, consequences for non-compliance. These policies can relate to work performance, interactions with colleagues, or presence in the workplace.
Treat everyone fairly
Being consistent in the way that each disciplinary procedure is carried out is important. Failing to do this can make it look like a certain employee is being favoured. This can be especially evident in a small workplace. This can then create distrust between employees and confusion as to what behaviours are accepted.
Record keeping in disciplinary procedures is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can protect your business against claims of unfair dismissal or general protections, assuming you have acted in line with employment law. It can also mean that you can review previous disciplinary procedures to ensure you can remain consistent.
Handle issues quickly
Workplace disciplinary issues have the potential to develop and grow, leading to more issues arising. In small businesses, if a disciplinary issue does develop into something more, it can impact the workplace at a much higher level.
How can ER Strategies help?
ER Strategies has been assisting businesses in managing their employee relations for over 20 years, and throughout that time, we have found what strategies work the best for every situation. If you find yourself in a situation, chances are we have dealt with it already. Get in touch with us on 1300 55 66 37 or click the button below.