Progressive discipline is a subject that does seem ominous and threatening - quite honestly. But disciplining an employee is a part of management. At some point in your career you will be faced with the unenviable task of delivering discipline to an employee due to poor performance or behavioral concerns.
I often get asked about the best ways to handle this so I am glad you took a moment to check this post out. I will answer a few questions you might have and take away some of the guess work.
If you don't know, the bulk of my Human Resources (HR) experience is Employee Relations. I assist other HR professionals and business leaders with constructing documentation to support their progressive discipline process - mainly within the corporate work-space.
So what is 'Progressive Discipline"? Let’s go over the standard progression. Now, I am not going to get in the number of verbals or written warnings that should be given before moving on to the next level, but I promise to go over the details in another installment. The standard guide, which I feel is a good outline for progressive discipline, is as follows:
Verbal Discussion - You have a very specific conversation with the employee privately regarding the concern. Usually, this one-on-one conversation does the trick. Although it was just a verbal discussion, you still have documentation that you had the conversation for later reference.
Written Warning - This is a documented conversation that requires some specifics. Make sure the concern is precise and written in a clear manner. State the date of the incidents or incident that took place; give a brief description of the performance concern or behavioral issue, and then state any violation of the job description or code of conduct that occurred. List what needs to be corrected and time frame of which the correction should take place.
Final Warning - So you have talked with the employee and documented the situation. You are not willing to give up, so you move to the final warning. This is documented as well with severe consequences. If you choose to implement a final warning, then it has to be just that. If the employee does not adhere to the final warning, then you do not write another final warning, you move to termination.
Termination - A termination is the last resort, and must be something that is entered into carefully and with input from Human Resources, which is a must have. The other department to consider is Legal. Depending on the situation you would want to make sure you have done all you can. When administering a termination, you want to state the previous discussions and warnings. You want to read the termination documentation because it details the reason(s) for the termination.
It is not good practice to terminate someone without documentation. Don't get me wrong. Some instances are so egregious that you have no choice, but there is something else to consider. You can always suspend an employee with pay until you get the documentation and all the facts.
I hope this helps! In Part 2, I will explain some more important facts regarding each progressive discipline.
Until next time, Stay Moxie!
There are times when we will feel disrespected by our staff. The rotten odor quickly rises to your nostrils and the stench of disrespectful behavior cannot be tolerated any longer. It’s a bit surprising when it happens because they are supposedly our “team.” We have hand-picked these employees to work with and mentor. That’s why we are shocked to realize that one bad apple does spoil the whole bunch.
What do you do? There are few ways to chop this tree. Before you begin chopping, ask yourself if you have caused this by your own actions.
If you answer yes to one or all of these questions, you are not alone, but just know things will have to change.
Many employees can handle interactions with their supervisor. However, some will not be able to handle these reinforcements. They will be the employees craving the most attention from you. The minute you try and keep it professional, they begin to get needy and upset because they feel that the relationship adds to their work environment. Despite the tension that will arise, it has to be done.
After they have said all that they feel needs to be said, go over their concerns, but reiterate your expectations so that the employee leaves the meeting understanding your concerns.
Next, you will experience growing pains. The employee is not going to like the new you. Though, they talked about how casual you are with them and how you were not a “real supervisor,” they actually prefer the old you. It gave them something to gripe about.
Now that you have taken away those issues that clouded the supervisor-employee line of demarcation, they have to make a decision to whether or not they will adjust, or leave. Sometimes a resignation is a necessary tool. If they stay, encourage the positive changes they are making. This won’t happen all at once, so be patient.
Last is consistency. Stay committed to your new found professional posture with your staff. There are times you are going to want to go in and talk way too much about a lot of things, but refrain. Maintain the standard, and the standard will soon become the norm. Realize, you are the boss and you have a responsibility to yourself and your organization to develop and manage the talent assigned to you.
Hailing from New York though she grew up in Southfield, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit), Lisa Cupid is definitely leaving a mark on the people of Cobb County's District 4 (a suburb of Atlanta). After graduating from Georgia Tech, Lisa and her husband were ready to settle down in a quiet suburb, little did she know, her subdivision was right next to one of the highest crime-ridden areas in the county.
Day after day she did what most of us do: she complained and she struggled. Then she did something most of us would never have even thought of, let alone, actually attempt it and see it through to the end. Lisa Cupid ran for office. Yes, Lisa Cupid is the youngest and only second African American to sit on Cobb County’s Board since its incorporation in December 1832. Now that's Moxie!
Commissioner Cupid did not allow gunshots she heard near her home or the crime rate alone to scare her into leaving the town. Lisa wanted to represent the concerned citizens who lived in the Six Flags area and surrounding South Cobb areas. Small in stature, but exuding compassion and confidence, Commissioner Cupid takes a moment to thank a faithful supporter, showing grace to even those close to her: "You don't have to Sakina, I have two meetings today." "You know I appreciate you so much!"
This interaction is so genuine, that you understand fairly quickly that Commissioner Cupid is not a politician, but a concerned citizen who takes her responsibility of representing District 4 very seriously. Commissioner Cupid knows her constituents and avails herself to them in hopes of hearing their concerns. The Commissioner does not shy away from difficult encounters, nor does she speak negatively of opponents--definitely a woman who displays grace under pressure!
Commissioner Cupid is a rarity. We hear many stories of people running for office, but then succumbing to the bite of the political bug, thus turning their honorable goals into a mere fight for career profit. Not Commissioner Cupid. No, she is living in the present. She wants to do what is expected of her all the time, and deliver the best service she can for District 4. She faces adversity every day, and rests on her faith and family to keep her grounded and focused.
Commissioner Cupid had support, but she did not come from a legacy of public life. As she nearly fell into personal defeat, she aggressively decided to finally make a stand, and an admirable decision it was. She stuck with her decision, despite still being in Law School. She persevered and did not make any excuses. Some would say her tenets involved a strong desire to see change in her community -- an inner conviction to stand up for what is right.
Lisa Cupid is definitely an inspiration to us all. Dignified, intelligent, and determined, the Commissioner guides us with grace and fortitude. For all of us who desire the courage to step up and meet the demands of public service, continue to follow the legacy of Lisa Cupid. I know she will do great things for District 4 and wherever she is led to next because she's So Moxie!
Understanding these steps when starting the payment process for your small business is essential!
The thought of Payroll and Human Resources can send a small business owner’s minds reeling. If you do not have experience in either area, you can find yourself unprepared to handle the cost of using a payroll service provider.
A few things you can begin to consider before implementing payroll:
Research: Make sure you are clear on your state’s requirements for retail and sales tax. If you are selling a product or providing a taxable service then you need to make sure you meet the requirements for the state or states you are doing business in.The EIN: You have a business. Whether you have a for profit or non-profit you must have this number. This seems obvious, but you want to make sure you have this information.
Number of Employees: How many employees will be working for you? Are they part-time? Most importantly, how are you currently paying them? Are they paid weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly? Are they employees or contractors?
These are important questions and need to be considered. Employees and contractors can both be paid out of payroll, but you need to be clear on which employees will have taxes deducted and which will be exempt. This information, when provided upfront, can assist your sales rep with creating a more accurate proposal.
If you pay your employees weekly, keep in mind that you will likely pay more for this service. Bi-weekly pay ensures an employee will be paid 26 weeks out of the year. Semi-monthly is 24 pay periods a year and is usually the standard 1st and 15th pay structure.
If an employee is considered part-time and is working more than 30 hours, just be aware of the Affordable Care Act. All these are factors that need to be considered.
Payroll Processing Companies: There are several payroll processing companies. Some are large and some are small and local. Either way, you should meet with at least three different companies. Don't let the size of the company intimidate you as it does not necessarily mean that they don’t want your business. They are very departmentalized and usually have a department that works primarily with small businesses.
Make sure you are clear of the services you need. Do you need payroll processing only? Do you want to speak to someone about outsourcing benefits? Will you have someone manually entering the information at your location? Do you want live checks or will you require direct deposit? An added cost of issuing live checks will be a decision that you need to make while keeping your employee base in mind. Direct deposit is a more efficient and inexpensive way, but make sure your employee staff actually will be able to open a bank account. Many payroll processing companies offer a wide variety of services that can be beneficial for small business. Know your budget and how much you plan to do yourself.
Small business owners are fearless and overcome many obstacles. Don’t let your payroll intimidate you in to putting off the decision.