All employers will experience some kind of unwanted behaviour from their staff. People are people and there will always be the occasional ‘bad apple’ who flouts the rules and causes problems that needs to be addressed by management. Following your disciplinary procedure is key.
Whether you have an employee who is caught stealing, watching porn on the company computer or taking extended lunch breaks, all employee issues should be dealt with in the same way.
- Always follow your disciplinary procedure and if you don’t have one then follow the statutory procedures stated by ACAS.
- Act promptly – you need to take action as soon as possible.
- Collect as much evidence as you can, things are not always as cut and dried as they seem. There may be an explanation.
- Never just dismiss someone – make sure you give them the opportunity to give their side of the story – even if you think they have been caught red-handed. They still have the right to a fair dismissal.
In my experience staff who are questioned about wrong-doings, will lie. They will make up the most bizarre stories to trying to avoid disciplinary action. This is why it is really important to collect as much evidence as possible.
“Your car broke down and you had to walk here? So, why is your car across the road?”
I was once in a situation where a member of staff was over one hour late returning from her lunch break – she insisted her car had broken down ( one mile away). Obviously I asked her where was her car now? And why didn’t she call work, we could probably have helped?
She said, her car was still a mile away and her Dad was going to look at it.
I had seen her park her car across the road when she returned, so I knew she was lying. I said, “So, why is your car across the road?” she answered – “Oh, my Dad must have fixed it and brought it here.”!
My point is, even in a situation that really was a minor misdemeanor, she still squirmed and desperately tried to appear innocent. Whereas, in fact, the lying just made the situation worse.
Control your own emotions
It can be infuriating when staff misbehave and cause you issues and you have the mess to deal with. Remaining calm throughout the process will help you make rational and fair decisions. If you come to expect lies and surprises it helps deal with the stress that comes from managing staff.
Situations are likely to be complicated and require lots of investigating and interviewing numerous witnesses, but it pays off to do it properly. Other employees will appreciate it if they see management taking misconduct seriously, and shows that such wrongdoings are not tolerated.
If you do need to give someone a warning, make sure you:
- Put it in writing
- give the employee an opportunity to appeal
- stick to your procedure with regard to how long the warning remains on their file.
- Keep all notes from the investigation
Carrying out disciplinaries is a necessary part of managing staff and is never fun. If you need support with carrying out a disciplinary investigation or hearing – Blue Tree HR Solutions offer ad-hoc or ongoing retained support – these kinds of problems are passed to an outsourced HR manager, giving you peace of mind, knowing the issue will be dealt with effectively.
Call 07516335419 if you have any questions.