Taking Disciplinary Action: Guiding Principles

In carrying out disciplinary action be sure to:

  • Build trust and maintain a professional manner by keeping the disciplinary process confidential between you and the employee
  • Make a careful diagnosis of the problem to determine whether disciplinary action is appropriate
  • Provide specific examples of performance discrepancies or work rule violations so the employee fully understands what needs correction
  • Allow the employee ample opportunity to explain so that you have all the facts
  • Make sure discipline is the appropriate tool. Would coaching or performance appraisal be sufficient to get the employee's attention?
  • When you take disciplinary action, make sure the punishment fits the crime
  • Help the employee improve performance by providing specific recommendations and requirements
  • Communicate clearly so the employee understands the consequences if performance or conduct does not improve