It’s never pleasant to discipline someone let alone fire them. That’s why it’s so common for an owner to avoid the issue altogether and absorb the failures until they explode. This unwillingness to correct bad behaviors as they occur in a disciplined and consistent manner creates unhappy customers who get poorly served and disgruntled staff members who have to pull the extra load. This all eventually will eat away at the owner’s physical and fiscal health.
If you have a written Steps of Discipline and you are willing to enforce them each and every time with each and every person at your company, the whole process goes better. I did this at my own company and my Shop Steward [this is a top tech who represents the other Union Staff at the company] came to me one day and said, “We don’t fire anybody anymore based on our clear communications, our steps of discipline and our willingness to train. They just choose not to work here anymore!”
Can you believe that?
Where you need to start is with the willingness to discipline someone on something based on clear written objective measurements such as a lack of sales for a Tech or a sales person based upon a known sales goal, excessive callbacks for a Tech that have been verified, recordings or observation of CSRs who fail to use scripts they’re trained on or a bookkeeper who continues to make mistakes on accounts payable and/or accounts receivable work.
Here are the Steps of Discipline I teach my clients:
Step #1: A private discussion using written documents like the manual and file the letter in the file. Tell them all’s forgiven this time and let them know the upcoming steps if the behavior continues.
Step #2: A Corrective Action write up referring to any written documentation. This also can include digital photos or a customer who sends in a letter to express poor customer service. Let them the next steps if behavior continues.
Step #3: A Suspension of 1 to 2 days with no pay and a sign off that they know the next occurrence will result in immediate termination.
Step #4: Dismissal. Follow the written guidelines for dismissing an employee.
Note: Decide how many Corrective Actions they may have in a quarter so they don’t pick a different thing in the manuals or in their jobs to screw up on.
Note: Decide what offenses would result in an immediate Suspension or Dismissal. Examples would be threatening behavior, violation of your drug or alcohol policy and loss of driver’s license.
Note: This would be a good thing to include with the Employer-Employee manual we’ve created for review by your Labor Lawyer.
Do this and you’ll improve your company by actually getting rid of someone!