Employee Discipline Policy - Coaching Employees to Improve Performance

If you've ever interviewed for a supervisory position you probably heard the question, "Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an employee with performance issues.". Well, this week I'm gonna give you my methods for coaching and disciplining employees.

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All right so the first thing you need to do is figure out what your company's policies and procedures are. The way you coach and discipline is gonna vary whether you're dealing with the hourly or salary employee or if that hourly employee is union or non-union. You need to make sure you're familiar with all the applicable policies, figure out exactly what the expectation was for your employee, where the gaps lie so you know what to talk to them about, and how to get them to where you need them to be

All right so the next thing to consider is whether you're gonna do coaching or actually discipline. For me in most cases you can start with the coaching and that could be informal coaching just having a conversation with them and telling them, "Hey, I've noticed this and this is what I need to get out of you," or it could be a more formal coaching session where you document everything you talk about and you come up with a formal plan to kind of remediate whatever the problem is to get them to the point where you need them to be. 

Now for me personally I think the best way to do that is to tell them what the problem is, tell them what you need them to do, and then ask them to come up with a plan of how to get them there so that way you've got their buy-in right off the back because it's their ideas, it's their suggestions for the remediation plan. Then you gotta make sure you absolutely meet with them on a regular basis to track their progress and make sure they're getting what they need and they're progressing along the path to be the employee you need them to be.

Now as far as more formal forms of discipline to me it really comes down to one, either I've already tried maybe some informal and formal coaching and it's just not working or two, they have gone out of their way to do the wrong thing. They knew the rules, they knew the procedures, whatever the case may be they made a conscious decision to break the rules and to me, that's where formal discipline comes in, and even more so if they lied about it. To me integrity is absolutely a must, I have to be able to trust my employees so if they lie to me about what happened and I can't trust them well that's a huge issue and that's where I'm gonna start looking into a more formal form of discipline.

With all that said the best way to deal with employee performance problems is not to have them in the first place. You want to be proactive, you want to tell people what your expectations are, and then give them a good place to work so they're excited to come to work and they're gonna do their best for you every day.

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