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Managing the Disciplinary Process

31 October 2008 No Comment

“Hire slow; fire fast…one bad apple…when you discover cancer…” You’ve heard all the sound bites for dealing with poor performers. Now it’s time to lead by example and take action. Here’s a quick road map for managing the process.

First, make certain of your facts before addressing the employee. Provide specific examples where your expectations were unmet. Listen to the explanations that are sure to come but remain firm as to the requirements of the job.

Second, ensure that the employee was properly trained to accomplish the job objectives. If not, you’ll want to address that during the improvement period.

Third, be certain you are quite specific as to where and how the employee must improve over the next 30 days. Lay out a Performance Improve Plan (PIP) in writing and have the employee sign-off indicating his/her understanding. Make sure the PIP calls for immediate and sustained improvement.

As confidential as you may treat the process, the word always gets out. Other employees will certainly be scrutinizing how you handle this difficult situation so…

Say what you mean, mean what you say and don’t be mean when you say it. Remember, the character of a company is truly exposed by the way it “buries its dead.” Make certain that, no matter how disturbing the employee’s performance, you treat him/her with respect. Termination is normally an eye-opener and can move an employee to adopt a career path that is more suitable. And you may even get a “thank you” note down the line.

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