Counselling & Disciplinary Action

How to alert employees to their behaviour and actions and correct their behaviour.

The term ‘discipline’ is used to cover any action by an employer to correct employee behavioural deficiencies and ensure adherence to established workplace rules

Discipline, when consistently and fairly applied, reinforces the rules you’ve established for workplace conduct and promotes employee morale. When workplace rules are clear, apply to everyone and are consistently enforced, employees are more likely to respect workplace rules, reducing the likelihood of breaches.

What discipline involves

Disciplinary action may take many forms, and it may be informal or formal. Examples of common types of disciplinary action include:

  • Counselling (informal and formal)
  • Verbal warnings
  • Written warnings, and
  • Dismissal

The purpose of a progressive disciplinary process is to assist employees to overcome identified problems regarding their work performance or conduct and provide a structured opportunity for improvement of the individual’s work performance.

While you can appropriately address most issues on a day to day basis without having to follow a formal disciplinary process, there will be an occasion when the disciplinary process will be required.

What counselling involves

Counselling is a structured discussion, initiated when an employee has not responded to the advice and/or assistance a manager/supervisor has provided on a less formal basis.

Counselling and misconduct

Counselling is not usually appropriate where the actual or potential consequences are serious, such as a threat to safety or health, major cost or damage, or a threat to the employer’s viability or reputation.

If you believe that an employee may be breaching or may have breached a policy or procedure in some minor way, it may be appropriate to raise the issue informally in the first instance.  Drawing the employee’s attention to the problem may be all that is required, including reference to the relevant policy, procedure, etc.

If, however, the behaviour in question is more serious or does not subsequently improve it is necessary to arrange a more formal discussion to ensure that the employee clearly understands what the expected standards are and how he or she may have fallen short of those standards.

Manager guides

We’ve developed guides intended to assist managers in dealing with the counselling of employees and taking disciplinary action. View the resource below to get started.

How to alert employees to their behaviour and actions and correct their behaviour.

The term ‘discipline’ is used to cover any action by an employer to correct employee behavioural deficiencies and ensure adherence to established workplace rules

Discipline, when consistently and fairly applied, reinforces the rules you’ve established for workplace conduct and promotes employee morale. When workplace rules are clear, apply to everyone and are consistently enforced, employees are more likely to respect workplace rules, reducing the likelihood of breaches.

What discipline involves

Disciplinary action may take many forms, and it may be informal or formal. Examples of common types of disciplinary action include:

  • Counselling (informal and formal)
  • Verbal warnings
  • Written warnings, and
  • Dismissal

The purpose of a progressive disciplinary process is to assist employees to overcome identified problems regarding their work performance or conduct and provide a structured opportunity for improvement of the individual’s work performance.

While you can appropriately address most issues on a day to day basis without having to follow a formal disciplinary process, there will be an occasion when the disciplinary process will be required.

What counselling involves

Counselling is a structured discussion, initiated when an employee has not responded to the advice and/or assistance a manager/supervisor has provided on a less formal basis.

Counselling and misconduct

Counselling is not usually appropriate where the actual or potential consequences are serious, such as a threat to safety or health, major cost or damage, or a threat to the employer’s viability or reputation.

If you believe that an employee may be breaching or may have breached a policy or procedure in some minor way, it may be appropriate to raise the issue informally in the first instance.  Drawing the employee’s attention to the problem may be all that is required, including reference to the relevant policy, procedure, etc.

If, however, the behaviour in question is more serious or does not subsequently improve it is necessary to arrange a more formal discussion to ensure that the employee clearly understands what the expected standards are and how he or she may have fallen short of those standards.

Manager guides

We’ve developed guides intended to assist managers in dealing with the counselling of employees and taking disciplinary action. View the resource below to get started.