This approach is based on the premise that role of a discipline approach should not always be to punish; rather, it should try to regulate the negative behavior of employees to make them better workers. Positive discipline is a corrective action which results in improved performance, more productivity and effective workforce.
Harsh and negative punishment might work in the short term, but the end result will eventually be employee dissatisfaction, low productivity, higher rate of absenteeism and high turnover.
This approach tries to mend the negative behavior of employees by first providing them counseling in terms of what is expected out of them and then giving oral and written warnings to them. Termination or discharge in extreme cases may also take place.
Steps of positive discipline approach
- Counseling: Counseling is an important part of the discipline process, because it gives a supervisor the opportunity to identify employee work behavior problems and discuss possible solutions with him. The goal of this phase is to make employee aware of organizational policies and rules. Counseling by a supervisor in the work unit can have positive effects also. Often, employees simply need to be made aware of rules. An oral warning can also be given to employee during counseling. Confrontation helps to understand the employee point of view as well. However, proper training should be given to the supervisors regarding counseling skills to make this process successful.
- Written warning: If employee behavior has not been improved by counseling sessions, then a second conference is held between the supervisor and the employee. This stage is documented in written form. As part of this phase, the employee and the supervisor develop written solutions to prevent further problems from occurring.
- Final warning:
When the employee does not follow the written solutions, a final warning conference is held. In that conference the supervisor emphasizes to the employee the importance of correcting the inappropriate actions. Some firms incorporate a decision-day off, in which the employee is given a day off with pay to develop a firm, written action plan to remedy the problem behaviors. The idea is to impress on the offender the seriousness of the problem and the manager’s determination to see that the behavior is changed.
- Discharge: If the employee fails to follow the action plan that was developed and further problem behaviors exist, then the supervisor will discharge the employee.
The positive aspect of this approach is that it focuses on problem solving rather than punishing and penalizing. This approach involves positive confrontation with the problem employee and thus gives him an opportunity to justify himself. The supervisor makes him aware of the company policies. The greatest difficulty with this is the extensive amount of training required for supervisors and managers to become effective counselors. Also, the process often takes more supervisory time than the progressive discipline approach.