DisciplinaryIf your a business owner who employees a team of staff, I’m pretty sure you’ve had times when you have woken up at night worrying about how to handle a particular situation with an employee, that you just don’t know when to start with.  Don’t worry though, your not alone.  I think it’s fair to say a lot of the discussions we have @GoldHR with our clients start off with something similar.  More often that not, there to do with those tricky people problems, such as disciplinary or grievance issues, which let’s be honest no-one relishes the thought of dealing with (well we actually we do!!  So following on from our theme last week where we shared the first five most common mistakes we see business owners make when it goes to dealing with disciplinary issues (you can find it here, in case you missed it), we’re going to share the next five mistakes to AVOID.  More importantly we’ll give you the information your NEED to make sure your HR practices bring about the results your looking for, without ending you in hot water.

So without further ado let’s get cracking:

6.  Failing to tell the employee they can be accompanied in their disciplinary hearing

You must inform your employee that they have the right to bring another person to their disciplinary hearing and this can either be a colleague or trade union representative.

This is not essential, except in very specific circumstances.  If the disciplinary procedure could result in the individual being forbidden from working in their field in the future (e.g. in the case of a doctor being subject to an allegation that could take away their right to practice), a legal representative must be present.

7.  Not being crystal clear about why action is being taken

Employee needs to know exactly why action is being taken against them.  What exactly happened that lead to the situation? What was the outcome?  Why is it a problem, and how does it go against company policies and procedures for conduct?

You need to outline your reasons from the very beginning, and be consistent (don’t change them half way through).  It wouldn’t be appropriate, for example, to start discussing previously unmentioned behaviour when the case is close to being resolved.

8.  Not making clear the potential consequences of the situation

Employee shouldn’t be kept in the dark about the potential outcome of a disciplinary process.  They should be made aware that dismissal could be a consequence (if that is the case), and they need to understand other measures that may be taken to address the problem.

This lets them know just how serious the matter is, and they can properly prepare.  It wouldn’t be fair if they thought they were simply going to be given a written warning, to then discover at a later date they may in fact lose their job.

9.  Always assuming that dismissal is the only option

In the majority of cases, dismissal will not be the outcome.  A series of warnings will usually be the best course of action.  Dismissal should be the last resort, when all other options have been explored and exhausted.

Now looking at legislation can be useful (and indeed, it’s absolutely essential), but don’t forget to use some common sense when deciding on an outcome.  Consider what seems to be reasonable, and how you want your business to be seen by others.  Do you really want to discover your company has a reputation for being unfair and militant when it comes to handling minor people issues?

Also be mindful that dismissal comes with costs that you might not have considered. It takes time and money to recruit a replacement.  This process could take longer than you think, and could have an impact on productivity and overall output.

10.  Doing everything on your own

It’s probably safe to assume that if you’re reading this article you’re not a seasoned HR professional with masses of experience in the field of creating and implementing effective people policies.  Where your at your best is focusing on running and growing your business.  In short, you can’t be expected to do everything yourself.

If you’re dealing with a disciplinary matter for the first time or you’ve made mistakes in the past and want to make sure you don’t do it again, talk to the team @GoldHR.  Just click the link below to book a no-obligation consultation call with us NOW and see how we can help you get it right.  


Alternatively if you’d like us to take a look at your disciplinary policy and give you some honest feedback on whether it’s fit for purpose or might need a bit more work, just send a copy through to us at sam@goldhr.co.uk and we’ll take a look.