The best approach to taking disciplinary action against an employee is to avoid the need for it at all. If an employee knows exactly what is expected of him and he has the skills, resources and motivation to fulfill his responsibilities, then he should not need to be reprimanded.
Problems usually arise when an organization is badly managed; when tasks are not concrete and employees are poorly trained. Vycheslav Losev, senior consultant at recruitment agency BLM Consort, advises that tasks should be SMART — that is Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Time-bound.
It is important to find the cause of an employee’s underperformance or misconduct and not just deal with the symptoms. One way to do this is by working out what motivates and de-motivates the individual.
Svetlana Motenko, HR director at International SOS clinic, says that the best way to deal with misconduct and underperformance is for a supervisor to provide an employee with feedback at an early stage. If a third party such as the HR department is involved, she adds, then the problem becomes more formal and it is harder for an employee to defend himself or improve his performance.
Disciplinary issues should be dealt with as soon as possible; they rarely go away of their own accord. The more time passes, the bigger the snowball.