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How To Discipline A Small Business Employee Effectively

In most instances, small business employees are a true asset to the organisation. Understanding the need to go above and beyond what’s expected of them to ensure the small business grows and develops into the organisation it can, most small business employees will bend over backwards for their employer, as they know it will pay off.

But on occasion, you get employees who are nothing but trouble. Rude, lazy and harmful to the small business, it’s these employees who are going to cause you the most problems – and the ones who are likely to require disciplinary action of some sort.

Never an easy process no matter how big of an organisation you are or how experienced you may be in disciplinary procedures, there are three key steps to help you discipline a small business employee in the most effective way possible.

1. Get your facts right

If there’s only one thing you do when you’re about to discipline an employee, it’s make sure you get every fact right about why you’re disciplining them.

Nothing should ever be based on hearsay or assumptions, but on actual evidence.

By all means, use complaints from other staff as a starting point for the disciplinary process, but you should never approach the process knowing you’re simply going to say “Sarah said you did…”.

You need to have proof that something has happened, else you’re basing the discipline on what could very easily be someone’s wrong interpretation of a situation.


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2. Give the employee chance to talk

If you’re entering a disciplinary meeting, it generally means you’re about to formally discipline an employee. However, it’s also likely to be the first time you’ve properly sat down with the person to discuss the situation.

Therefore, whilst we’re not saying you should essentially let the employee try and talk their way out of being disciplined, you need to use the session as a time for two-way communication.

Obviously, you should tell the employee exactly what it is you’re going to be disciplining them for, but you also need to listen to what they’ve got to say – it could very easily come to light that although they understand why they are being disciplined now, they didn’t realise at the time the seriousness of what it was they had done.

And if this was the case, although disciplinary procedures are still likely to be the way forward, it can make the future working environment a considerably better one to work in, as the employee could fully understand their actions and accept the disciplining.

3. Help them develop

After you’ve disciplined someone for whatever reason, it can seem like that’s the end of the process. And to all intents and purposes, it can be.

However, to ensure no further disciplinary action is needed, it’s strongly advised that you put in place a plan to help the employee develop and progress from the situation.

What this will be will vary , but imagine you’d disciplined them for consistently being rude to employees. In this instance, the action could include everything from formal customer service training through to working alongside your more experienced and / or professional staff, so to ensure they can see exactly what should be happening in practice.

Disciplining a small business employee is never an easy task, but it really doesn’t have to be one that causes you any major issues – that is, as long as you know how to handle it in the most efficient and effective way possible.

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