Create a plan for employee discipline
Several years ago I attended a seminar entitled "Employee Discipline and
Performance Mistakes." Afterwards, I wrote up a simple, step-by-step plan
for dealing with common employee discipline problems, like tardiness, not following
the dress code or standards of conduct, failing to compete tasks or checklists.
It's simple and straightforward, and best of all it puts the responsibility for improvement onto the employee, not the supervisor.
I like it because it is easy to follow, and it ensures that employees understand what their mistakes are so that they can remedy them. It is not fair to expect your staff to be mindreaders. You need to tell them what they are doing wrong and give them a chance to fix it. This plan assumes you have an office policy manual for your employees that clearly states your rules and procedures.
Discipline shall be dispensed in the following seven-step manner:
1. All employees shall be required to read the office policy manual
in its entirety, and sign and date the last page. A copy of this
last page should be given to the doctor or practice manager to be placed in
the employee's file. Infractions will be described in the manual and those pages
reread, resigned and dated by the employee when infractions occur.
2. The second altercation shall be addressed by a supervisor with an
oral reminder. The day, date and nature of the infraction will be documented
in the employee's file. The time and place of the oral reminder, the employee's
explanation or excuse, and response to the reminder about the infraction will
also be documented. The Employee must sign the documentation. If he or she refuses
to sign, the documentation must be witnessed by a third party. Oral reminders
may be repeated as necessary.
3. Any further altercations may lead to a counseling session with a
supervisor, who will document the session, and the decision reached by the supervisor
and the employee to solve the problem.
4. The employee must sign the document. If the employee disagrees with
the supervisor's write up, he or she may write his or her own. If neither supervisor
nor employee will sign the other's document, a witness must validate and sign
5. Further infraction will result in a paid decision-making leave. Employee
has the choice of whether he or she wishes to remain employed by the veterinary
hospital, and if he or she decides to stay must write a written plan to solve
6. Meeting with supervisor to discuss the written plan. The plan must
- The decision
- How and why they made that decision
- An action plan to fix the problem
- The employee's understanding that one more unacceptable but similar infraction
within a reasonable time frame will result in self-termination. The time frame
will be set by the employer, not the employee.
The plan should be signed by both supervisor and employee. Failure to complete
a plan is insubordination. The next infraction will result in dismissal.
7. Upon a further infraction within the previously set time frame the
employee has made the decision to self-terminate.
Again, the nice thing about this is that if the employee doesn't follow his
or her own action plan they have decided to resign, rather than being fired.
It treats employees like adults who are responsible for their own job performance.
I hope it works for you, too!