How To Discipline An Employee

Here in the Philippines, one of the most difficult management problems is how to instill discipline. A wrong disciplinary action may cause resentment not only in the affected person, but also among others in the workforce. Worst is that it may provoke legal action, or in extreme cases, even violence.
On the other hand, managers who are too lax will also find their operations suffering from the lack of discipline. Knowing how to discipline an employee is one of the most important responsibilities of management and may be the most difficult. In a nutshell, here are some of the most important things to consider when doing this unpleasant task:
Know the purpose of the disciplinary action. Before confronting the employee about his transgression, you must first keep in mind the right reasons for the disciplinary action. You must be calm so that your judgement would not be adversely affected. Remember that the main purpose is to correct a wrong behavior and not to punish a person.
Have a thorough knowledge of the employee manual. Your actions must be within the parameters of your employee or company manual. This is to be consistent and to avoid legal problems. Your manual must be continuously updated to improve the rules and to keep up with the latest labor related rulings.
Emphasize preventive discipline. Preventive discipline is designed so as to focus on promoting desired behavior rather than looking for mistakes to punish. This style has generally been proven to be more effective and less stressful to management.
Know how to motivate employees to comply. There are many ways to encourage employees to comply with the rules. One of the most important is that management must set an example. Another way is to be fair in the application of the rules. Favoritism is a leading cause of demotivation.
Discover the sources of disciplinary problems. If you do not get to the root of the problem, it will keep coming back. In severe cases, it is sometimes found that there is drug abuse. Having regular drug checks would go a long way to reduce such types of problems.
Follow due process and legal requirements. This is especially true when terminating employment. You cannot just fire an employee even if he is caught red-handed committing a crime. There are due process requirements mandated by the labor code that every company must follow.
Follow up on the employee. Realize that disciplinary action is only the start of remedial action unless it a case of termination. Give guidance to the employee to reduce the chance of his doing another transgression.
Disciplining an employee is an essential task that every manager or entrepreneur must learn to do right. A business with undisciplined employees is unlikely to last long in a competitive industry.
To know more on how to discipline employees, BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, will be conducting a seminar entitled, “Effective Employee Discipline.” Contact (02) 727-5628, (02) 727-8860, (0915) 205-0133 or visit for details.
Click here to view details of the seminar: Effective Employee Discipline »

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-6, Sunday, June 16, 2013. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.