Back to Basics – Benefits of a Disciplinary Procedure!

This short post is about the value of HR to small employers, especially in terms of the disciplinary procedure.

Are you a small employer who doesn’t have time to manage your employees effectively? Or, are you an employer where your business has grown and you now have quite a number of employees, but few policies and procedures in place?

Back to Basics - Benefits of a Disciplinary Procedure!

In both of these situations, I have great experience of the Owner, Financial or Managing Director contacting me to help them ‘exit’ an employee from their business and, generally, this is after a series of issues which have not been managed as they have arisen.

Let me ask you about your attitude towards discipline:

  • Do you think having a disciplinary procedure in place is something you’ll do tomorrow;
  • Do you consider it to be unimportant to you or;
  • Is your way of thinking reactive – you’ll deal with any issues as and when they arise?

If you’ve answered ‘yes, that’s me’ to any of the points above then you are not running your business very efficiently. You may have failed to understand the value of HR and how this can benefit your business in helping you manage your ‘human resource’ which will ultimately lead to an increase in profit.

An employer can make their business more efficient by having policies, procedures and practices in place (not just disciplinary) which help them run their business smoothly and contribute to the overall business strategy. This doesn’t have to cost the earth or take up valuable time; there are plenty of HR experts who can help.

As this post is about the disciplinary policy, let’s focus on a few points:

  • Never make it contractual, the result of this would hinder your efforts to remove ‘that’ employee;
  • Ensure your policy is up-to-date and complies with employees’ statutory rights, such as the right to be accompanied, the policy is fair, and that any warning or dismissal is reflective of the seriousness of the offence;
  • Essentially this is where you set the standards of behaviour and performance you expect from your employees and it also provides for managing those who fail to adhere to it.

Do you know the difference between misconduct and capability? In a nutshell, it’s a case of won’t do, can’t do and capability generally takes a longer period of time to manage.

Gross misconduct – this is an act of misconduct that you as an employer deem so serious that it fundamentally breaches the contract between you and your employee. It breaches the implied trust and confidence and this is where a set of rules is vitally important to help you protect your business. Do your rules cover confidentiality, your customers and the way they should be treated? How compliant are you with whistleblowing? Do your employees deal with finances and know what you deem to be a fraudulent activity? How do your employees know what will happen if they turn up under the influence of alcohol or drugs and then operate machinery? Now you can see why you need such rules and a procedure to back these up.

The key point here is the management and implementation of a disciplinary policy. It is essential that your managers know it and treat employees consistently. Plus your employees must know it too, and need to be aware of what is expected of them. This is obviously in addition to other tools such as their job description, 1-2-1 meetings with their manager, and knowing how their role fits into the business and their contribution to achieving the overall business goals.

So, back to ‘the employee’ – what do you do?

This is a question which cannot be answered accurately without knowing more about the employee. Some points which would need answering to help identify how to provide the most risk free solution for the employer are:

  • The reasons the employer wants the employee ‘out’;
  • The employee’s length of service;
  • Knowing if the disciplinary procedure is contractual or not;
  • Identifying any automatically unfair reasons for dismissal.

Once we have these answers and a few others, we can identify the ‘risk’ involved in helping the overall aim of exiting ‘that’ employee from the business, providing efficient and cost-effective options for the employer to choose from.

Benefits of having a disciplinary procedure

  • Increases efficiency and productivity.
  • Employees are treated fairly and consistently, therefore reducing potential discrimination claims (there is no minimum length of service required for this type of claim and the compensation award is uncapped).
  • Reduced turnover, recruitment time and costs.
  • Reduced absence and time managing such absence.
  • Employees who perceive their employer to be fair, proactive and not reactive will be more loyal and dedicated than those who believe their employer fails to invest in them.


So, in conclusion, invest in your employees by having relevant policies and procedures in place. This applies to other policies, and not just the disciplinary policy we have focused on today.

Take the time to find a HR expert who wants to understand your business and reflect its culture and business goals into the policies being created.

Review your disciplinary procedure; are you sure it’s up-to-date and benefiting your business? Or is it just there being neglected?

Get your HR correct such as policies, procedures and hands-on management of your employees, and then watch your profits increase.

More details about Disciplinary can be found in the ACAS website.

Call us today to discuss how we can help increase your profits!   01455 231982 | 07716 918272

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