January 18, 2021, by HR Search & Rescue Workplace discipline is a common and necessary aspect of managing employees. As an employee, however, discipline is often misconstrued as a punishment or the next step in a personal vendetta. Misunderstanding the purpose of workplace discipline often leads to personal conflict and a toxic work environment. It is important for employees to understand the value of discipline and how it can contribute to a more productive work environment for everyone. Is Workplace Discipline A Punishment? Perhaps the biggest misconception about workplace discipline is that it is a form of punishment. This is not the case. Employers have no motivation to punish employees. They want each and every worker under their care to improve because it is beneficial for the business. Employee disengagement is a serious problem, with one Gallup poll estimating that 70% of all U.S. workers are actively disengaged at work. Discipline helps to alleviate this and offers an opportunity for self-improvement. Reframe workplace discipline as a chance to improve rather than as a form of punishment and encourage employees to actively engage with the process. What Behaviors Often Lead to Discipline? There are a variety of behaviors that may lead to a form of workplace discipline. Employees are advised to review their employer’s conduct guidelines regularly to avoid this. There are many behaviors that lead to discipline, but here are some of the most common ones. Consistent Tardiness Or Absences Habitual tardiness is extremely common among the U.S. workforce, with 15-20% of workers admitting to being late to the job on a regular basis. This translates to billions of dollars lost in productivity every year. Tardiness and regular unauthorized absences are disrespectful to both employers and co-workers. They compromise project deadlines, and they can create resentment within teams. Disruptive Behavior Or Attitude No employer lives under the delusion that every worker will become best friends for life. Personalities and work styles often clash. However, disruptive attitudes or behaviors can derail entire businesses. They compromise morale and lead to lost productivity and lead to toxic work environments. Not Turning In Assignments On Time There is nothing more frustrating than employees who are regularly late with their work. It not only prevents a business from meeting its obligations but also stops other employees from completing their own tasks. For example, if the sales team is regularly late with their monthly stats, the company accountant will also be unable to complete their financial reports in good time. Other Behaviors That Warrant Discipline These behaviors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to behaviors that could warrant discipline. Microaggressions, failing to follow health and safety policies, being rude to clients and misusing company smartphones/computers are just some of the other behaviors that could warrant a disciplinary meeting. How Can I Effectively Manage Discipline? Managing discipline should never be about scolding employees. Discipline is best seen as an opportunity to correct negative behaviors and a push toward self-improvement. Bosses are advised to consider holding meetings with employees to explain the goals of the internal disciplinary system, so misunderstandings are avoided. Review Your Organization’s Policies Before reacting to a disciplinary notice, take the time to review the organization’s policies first. This will ensure the disciplinary notice is valid and the company is closely following its own rules. Do Not Discuss Disciplinary Procedures With Others Disciplinary procedures follow a certain well-defined process. Avoid blowing the situation out of proportion by dragging co-workers into it. Employers should seek to treat discipline with a high level of discretion, and employees are advised to respond in kind. Take a deep breath, remain calm and engage with the process. Listen Closely To Feedback From Managers While vindictive managers are not unheard of within U.S. workplaces, most managers want their teams to improve. They stand to gain a lot from being the manager of a high-performing team. Managers are there for the sole purpose of getting the best out of their charges. Refrain from taking discipline as a personal affront, and listen closely to what they have to say. Ask What You Can Do To Improve Do not just blindly agree with everything said during a disciplinary meeting. Engage by asking what you can do to improve your performance. Discipline is a chance for collaboration— not a lecture. Managers are always impressed with employees who show they care and want to improve. Retain The Information Provided During Discipline Avoid inviting further disciplinary problems by retaining the information provided during an official disciplinary meeting. Take careful notes on what was said, and request a write-up from HR and your manager. Discuss Next Steps With Your Employer Do not be afraid to consult directly with an employer when it comes to discipline. If employees feel that discipline is unwarranted, the situation should never be allowed to fester. If relevant, employees should also consider bringing along a union representative if they feel the situation has escalated. Speak With A Remote HR Consultant Today Workplace discipline is a tricky subject because there are no federal rules or guidelines on how employers should treat discipline. Businesses are very much left to their own devices. If you feel like you have been unfairly treated during a disciplinary hearing, speak to a remote HR consultant. Contact a remote HR consultant from HR Search and Rescue to get practical help on how to handle disciplinary matters in the workplace.