Progressive Discipline – a Good Approach to Improving Employee Performance?

Consider the following scenario:

Your administrative assistant compiles a month-end report for you on critical business data.  The report due date is three business days after the end of the month, but recently this has been slipping to four, then five days or even later.  Frustrated, you follow company procedure and give her a verbal warning, telling her that you expect the report to be ready on the due date next month.  She promises that it will be…and once again, the report is three days late.  So, you give her a written warning, and explain that the consequence of continuing to miss the date will be termination.  Once again, the report is not ready on time, so you fire her.

Ask yourself, would you do your best work under threat of termination?  Probably not.  Are there better alternatives to helping an employee improve performance?  Definitely.  Consider the following:
• Lateness is the symptom, not the problem.  Why is the report late?  Is critical data not available timely?  Are there other priorities that get in the way of completing the report?
• Why do you need the report three business days after month end?  Just because it’s always been that way?  What is the actual need and by when?
• Are there unique circumstances over the past few months that have contributed to the issue?  Will they continue?  If not, the issue will likely resolve itself with no intervention.

In a few cases, you may not be successful with these strategies. But if you need to terminate, it’s at least with a good understanding of why things are not working and what you need to look for in the next candidate.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity.  For more information, visit her web site or call her at 614-395-9440.


0 Responses to “Progressive Discipline – a Good Approach to Improving Employee Performance?”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: