Progressive discipline process is a guiding tool used in most organizations by the human resource to address disciplinary issues within the organization. Such issues include; employee absenteeism, work failures, lateness, insubordination, violation of countries policies and all others kind of misconduct.
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Objectives of Progressive discipline process
Most importantly, the role of progressive discipline process is to assist organization managers to easily identify employee’s behavior and performance problems. It also assists managers to fairly reach proper disciplinary actions against employees who have been convicted in any form of misconduct.
Supervisors and managers also use this tool to clearly understand their legal roles and responsibility when handling progressive discipline matters (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.6). This is possible because the discipline process provides a proper methodology for handling all types of employee’s misconduct legally and according to the labor laws.
Progressive discipline process
Notable to mention is that, it is not mandatory for supervisors and managers to always proceed through each every step in every case (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.6). There are some cases which don’t require step by step approach, for example termination or suspension cases. For proper accomplishment in this process, the organization must utilize an expertise human resource manager.
Once an employee has been convicted, the employees and the employee associations must first be notified on the case through a hand written document or email (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.6). They should also be updated on every step the employee will go through the entire disciplinary process. All this documents must be kept in the employee’s personal file found in the HR.
Rights and standards involved in Progressive discipline process
Convicted employees who have been summoned for misconduct or misbehavior have a right to have full union representation. Employees also have a right to launch an appeal for unsatisfied ruling.
Basing on (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.11) the investigating team must also inform the senior managers of all allegation imposed against the employee. Once approved, they should arrange the date, time and place of meeting the employee. Minutes of the meeting must be recorded for smooth progressive use.
The employer must provide sufficient just cause standards to justify all allegations against the convicted employee. Sufficient investigations must be conducted to gather enough and certain evidence against the employee.
Steps involved in progressive discipline process
Progressive discipline process involves several steps that must be followed in a progressive manner.
Verbal reprimand step
This is the first step involved in progressive discipline process. It is used for less serious employee’s offences. It involves the organization manager meeting the employee and describes the convicted unacceptable behavior the employee engaged into. According to (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.15) the supervisor also ensures that the employees are aware of the expected behaviors and conducts.
Moreover, the supervisor must clarify to the employee on the future consequences if the misconduct was repeated. In addition to this, a written memo to the employee must be availed documenting the details discussed in the meeting. This document must be kept in the employees HR file as records of the conversations.
Written reprimand step
This is another step of progressive discipline process most organization use for repeated offences that are more serious (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.15). The document entails the employee’s unacceptable behaviors and how the behavior was violated.
This document also clearly indicates all possible impacts of such behavior to the organization. For the employee, the document contains the employee’s rights. Finally, the document depicts the future consequences to be faced by the employee if there in no improvement in behaviors.
Suspension step is arrived at rarely and in cases where the employee repeatedly continues violating organization rules. This comes after the employee has progressively been served with both verbal and written reprimands (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.15). Suspension is normally awarded to employees whose misconduct is of serious nature.
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Suspension involves suspending the employee from duties without payment for a period of not more than 30 calendar days (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.15). This enables the employee to carefully examine himself/herself and improve in code of conduct.
Demotion is always awarded not only on misconduct basis but also on performance basis. There are employees who are demoted due to their inability to perform. Nevertheless, demotion can also be imposed on an employee who holds a senior position and who is continuously convicted in misconducts (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.16).
This is the final step of the entire progressive discipline process. An employee must progressively go through all verbal, written and suspension steps in order to arrive at termination stage (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.16). For an employee to be terminated from the organization the crime must be extremely serious for example; criminal activities and violence crimes.
A termination should be in writings and must be served to the employee personally or though posting. The document should contain clear state of charges and action imposed on the employee. The organization must give the employee 7 calendar days to respond back either orally or in writings (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.16).
A disciplinary action plan or check list has the following steps:
Prior to disciplinary action
This is done through performance management. The management must ensure they come up with appropriate timing for the disciplinary action. The appropriate management agents must always be notified; including the human resource (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.23).
Administering disciplinary action
The disciplinary committee must ensure they have all facts properly arranged. Proper investigation must also be done and no one should ever rely on assumptions (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.23). The disciplinary committee should ensure that the disciplinary action arrived at is appropriate to the individual and that it follows legal process.
After disciplinary action (non-termination cases)
According to (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.23) the disciplinary committee must set up a time frame for constantly reviewing the employee’s progress after the disciplinary action.
Recommendations must be provided for example, if the employee performance has improved, give a positive reinforcement. In case there is no improvement, appropriate actions must be taken. Such actions include; repeating the discipline, recommend more severe discipline or even recommend discharge (“Performance improvement and progressive discipline” p.23).
Progressive discipline process is the best and fairest way of ensuring that employees abide to the codes of conduct in the organization. It allows convicted employees be assessed and punished when enough evidence is available. It prevents punishing employees who have done no mistake. This tool is also necessary for evaluating underperforming employees for the benefit of the organization.
Performance Improvement and Progressive Discipline: a Human Resource Guide. N.d. Web. PDF file. 27 Oct. 2012. <https://www.washoecounty.us/humanresources/files/hrfiles/Performance_Improvement_and_Progressive_Discipline_Guide.pdf>.