Blog, Human Resources

Tips for Writing Disciplinary Letters

One of the responsibilities of managers and supervisors is to make sure that every employee follows company rules and regulations. A written reprimand is given to an employee who violates the policies and procedures or whose performance is below standards. It also serves as reference for any future reprimands. The following tips will help you understand when to use this measure and how to create a professional, yet effective letter.

Take Your Time
Don’t let temper affect your judgement. Carefully review the employee’s actions and performance. It is recommended to have a conversation with the employee in question before giving a warning letter. Talking with the person will allow you to have a better understanding of the problem.

Identify the Problem
For the letter to be effective, you need to clearly describe the situation/circumstances and its impact on the company. Make sure to include actual facts of its effects such as project delays, item refunds, or customer complains.

Performance Improvement
Let the employee know what steps they should take to correct the problem, as well as what the company expects of them. It’s easier if there is a set of guidelines, so employees can self-evaluate and avoid future recurrences of the transgression.

Sanctions
It’s important to establish the consequences of the misconduct. Be flexible with your statements and use phrases like, “Failure to improvements may result in severe disciplinary actions.” This will give you more alternatives when dealing with the problem again.

Talk with the Employee
Meet with the individual to discuss the situation. Go over the letter with them, and explain why the company is taking such measures. The presence of a human resources representative is necessary to witness and document the discussion. Having another person in the room may startle the employee, but it’s a precaution companies should take to avoid false accusations, especially legal conflicts.

Remember to ask the person to sign the letter, and let them know that they have the right to present their side in writing. If the person doesn’t want to sign, write “refused to sign” on the employee’s signature, and ask the HR representative to sign and date the letter. Keep the original in the employee’s personal file and give a copy to the worker.

If the employee effectively improves and doesn’t commit the transgression for at least six months, attach a letter to the person’s file acknowledging their improvements and willingness to accept suggestions. Employees will highly appreciate it when their faults aren’t the only ones recognized, but also their progress in the aftermath.

Disciplinary letters are a necessary evil. It’s not easy for a manager or business owner to do so, but avoiding the problem can cause more harm to the company than to confront it head-on. Be polite and stick to the facts. Deal with the issue with professionalism and tact. The employee will understand and do their best to make the necessary adjustments.

  V. Sanchez

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