Discipline is the key to success in industry. Theodore Roosevelt has said “With self-discipline almost everything is possible”. Self discipline makes employee realize what is required at work. Discipline can be positively related to performance. It is the bridge between goals and accomplishments. Effective discipline should be aimed at the behavior, and not at the employee personality. This is because the reason for discipline is to improve performance rather than punishing the employee.
Factors necessary for effective disciplinary system include:
- Training of supervisors is necessary: Supervisors and mangers need to be trained on when and how discipline should be used. It is necessary to provide training on counseling skills as these skills are used while dealing with problem employees. Moreover, discipline decisions taken by trained supervisors are considered fair by both employees and managers.
- Centralization of discipline: Centralized means that the discipline decisions should be uniform throughout the organization. The greater the uniformity, higher will be the effectiveness of discipline procedure.
- Impersonal discipline: Discipline should be handled impersonally. Managers should try to minimize the ill feelings arising out of the decisions by judging the offensive behavior and not by judging the person. Managers should limit their emotional involvement in the disciplinary sessions.
- Review discipline decisions: The disciplinary decisions must be reviewed before being implemented. This will ensure uniformity and fairness of the system and will minimize the arbitrariness of the disciplinary system.
- Notification of conduct that may result in discipline: Actions that lead to misconduct can be listed and documented so the employees are aware of such actions. This will unable them to claim that they have not been notified, in advance, regarding the same.
- Information regarding penalties: The employer should define the penalties and other actions like warnings, reprimands, discharge and dismissal well in advance. All these action plans must be communicated to the employees.
- Discipline shall be progressive: Discipline system should be progressive in nature. In a progressive discipline approach the severity of actions to modify behavior increases with every step as the employee continues to show improper behavior. The advantage of this approach is that employees can’t take it for granted.
- Documentation: Effective discipline requires accurate, written record keeping and written notification to the employees. Thus less chance will be left for the employee to say the he “did not know” about the policy.
- Discipline should be fair: The disciplinary decision should be fair enough for the employee. Both over-penalization and under-penalization are considered to be unfair for the problem employee. Moreover, an internal fairness is to be maintained, that is, two employees who have committed the same offense should be equally punished.
- Discipline shall be flexible and consistent: The manager administering discipline must consider the effect of actions taken by other managers and of other actions taken in the past. Consistent discipline helps to set limits and informs people about what they can and cannot do. Inconsistent discipline leads to confusion and uncertainty.
- Disciplinary action should be prompt: The effective discipline should be immediate. The longer time lag between the misconduct offense and the disciplinary action will result in ineffectiveness of the discipline.