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HR Insights with Ali: How Progressive Discipline Benefits Both Employers and Employees


Posted on 1/25/2017 by Ali Oromchian, Esq.
When you first open a new practice, you may envision employing only perfectly-happy and well-performing employees who are never late for work and who never violate company policies. But the truth is that employees are just people, and people make mistakes. They sleep through alarms, miss deadlines and sometimes just outright drop the ball when it comes to their responsibilities. A good practice will have strategies in place which allow for the occasional misstep but which do not force you to maintain the employment of workers who are just not cut out for the job.

The goal of progressive discipline is to give employees a chance to remedy bad behavior before it becomes a bigger issue. This usually means a progressive series of verbal and written warnings which result in termination if the behavior continues. This allows an employee to be reprimanded for being late, for example, without having to worry about losing his or her job if it really was an oversight. At the same time, employers protect themselves from true “problem” employees by having a system in place which results in termination if problems are not remedied.

The benefits of progressive discipline for employees are clear - they have adequate opportunity to learn from and address minor problems before they are at risk of losing their jobs. But this system benefits employers as well, as they are able to retain otherwise well-performing employees who simply make a mistake, and they do not have to waste time and energy hiring and training a new workforce when their current one is otherwise performing well.

An effective performance management program can help you to keep track of performance and timeliness issues. With a program in place, you are able to have immediate access to documented performance measurements and the information is kept in a safe, accessible location to be used in the case of wrongful termination claims. If you have any questions about performance-tracking programs, reach out to legal counsel or an HR expert.
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