A Guide to Holding a Formal Disciplinary Meeting

When an employee goes beyond the defined code of employee conduct, it is essential to schedule a formal disciplinary meeting to ensure the employee is on track and follows the code. Employers can set levelled expectations and be consistent with the office policies to ensure no breach of conduct. Doing this will also ensure that employees handle employee disciplinary meeting at work effectively and positively.  

The employee may feel uncomfortable and negated about the situation. However, if the situation is handled correctly, an employee disciplinary meeting at work can transform into an optimistic one and be a good setup for achieving measurable goals.

Set the Environment for a Formal Disciplinary Meeting

If an employee has violated company and conduct policies, the office needs to take immediate regulatory steps and follow the meeting guide to make their position known and bring them to book. Never ignore behavior that violates the office policies as it would set more issues later on. Instead, issue verbal warnings and correct the conduct of the employees in the formal disciplinary meetings. Do bring the employee into a private meet room, remind them about the office policies, breach the policy, and discuss what changes you want the employees to bring in them. Issue them a timeframe for the same. Always be professional, to the point, and avoid talking about other issues.  

If the employee’s behavior doesn’t improve after the verbal warning, it is time to issue a written warning and call the employee into a formal disciplinary meeting. A formal disciplinary meeting is an excellent opportunity for a two-way discussion on performance issues in an organization. It is the foremost step to bringing in a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) in an organization. 

Formal disciplinary meeting guide at work

Essentials for holding an Employee disciplinary meeting at work.

Steps to handle Employee disciplinary meeting efficiently

Review the employee file

  • Review the employee and performance records’ file to understand past behavior and performance records.
  • Check if the issue occurred in the past and evaluate how it was handled if it occurred.  

Employee discussion

  • Prepare for the employee discussion well.
  • If the meeting is a formal warning meet, issue an employee warning notice highlighting all the issues before indulging in the formal disciplinary meeting.
  • Collect the facts and gather thorough information on it.  

State objectives

  • Begin the meeting by highlighting the meeting’s points, why the meeting was called, and what your expectations are.
  • Review records of the employee and point out both positive and negative issues of the employee according to the meeting guide.
  • Do explain in detail the employee’s actions that are a problem for an employee and why they are problematic.  

Employee inputs

  • Seek inputs and ideas from the employee on how the situation can be improved.
  • Discuss the goals and steps that can be taken to improve the situation and issue deadlines to the employee for improvement.
  • Determine if the employee needs any additional training or supervision for improvement.  

Issue an employee copy

Issue a copy of the employee’s performance warning to keep a record.  

Schedule a follow-up

Always ensure a follow-up to the disciplinary meet and discuss the timeline for the next meet and improvements by then.  

During the meeting

  • Keep it private: Keep the meeting private away from co-workers, schedule it in a private area.
  • Bring in a witness: Invite a third person, like a supervisor, as a backup witness if any disagreements arise. The witness can also sign the meeting documents to acknowledge their presence in the meet.
  • Avoid other topics: Always focus on the primary issue, avoid other topics. Talk about the policy breach by the employee in the employee disciplinary meeting and the issue at hand. Avoid any past performance issues or concerns in the meet.
  • Always be respectful: Listen to the employee carefully and respect their opinion and arguments.  
  • Stay calm: Keep the employee disciplinary meeting strictly professional and calm. Avoid arguments and disagreements, anger reactions, or emotional outbursts.  
  • Explain the consequences: Ensure that the employee knows the consequences if there is no future improvement. It is essential that the employee understands the way-forward steps and make them sign the disciplinary documents.  

Employee performance evaluations are an essential part of the efficient functioning of an organization. Always conduct regular evaluations to correct employee behavior, motivate them, and set prerequisite goals for them. Though it is essential to conduct regular evaluations, one can also conduct unscheduled reviews when you see changes or breach of employee policies and hold a formal disciplinary meeting at work.  

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Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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