Ashville Company is trying to develop and implement a variety of HR practices to establish a high-performance culture. In order to do this, Ashville company must have HR strategies that fit with this aspiration. This includes the company’s discipline procedure on dealing with substandard performers. The two most widely used types of discipline procedures are progressive and positive discipline. Progressive discipline focuses on a series of interventions by management, increasing in severity, which gives employees opportunities to correct their behavior. Positive discipline is similar to progressive discipline in that there are a series of steps increasing in severity that are followed when an employee is not performing well. It differs because employees monitor their own behavior and they are responsible for their own actions (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, Cardy, 481-483). Because positive discipline focuses on counseling sessions to collaborate with substandard performers, instead of warnings to punish them, and Ashville Company is looking to develop a high performance culture, a positive discipline procedure may fit well with their strategy.
The first step in developing a discipline system for Ashville Company is to determine the purpose of the system and to determine exactly what behavior is considered to be “substandard performance.” This must be considered to be a reasonable and fair measure of performance by all employees so they do not view the discipline procedure as unfair. There must also be a due process established, so that an investigation is done to ensure the performance is truly substandard, and an appeal procedure must be established to allow the employee to tell his or her side of the story.
A positive discipline system will follow a progressive system in terms of the steps used: an oral warning, a written warning, suspension, and termination (Gill). Each step must change to reflect a positive discipline strategy. In this case, an oral warning may include a meeting with a supervisor to discuss the problem and discuss how the problem can be rectified. If the problem persists, a written warning is issued. In a positive discipline procedure, this may be in the form of a written assessment of the problem and a written solution to the problem in a second meeting with the employee and supervisor. The next step in a progressive discipline procedure would be suspension. In a positive discipline procedure, suspension without pay doesn’t fit with the philosophy that punishment doesn’t work. Instead, the employee is given more time to think about the problem and decide on a proper solution. Ashville Company should consider giving employees a “decision making day off” for this reason. By paying workers for this time, it shows that the company is truly committed to helping its employees improve. It also decreases the likelihood of anger or resentment on the part of the employee, and it decreases the chances that the employee could win in a wrongful termination lawsuit (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, Cardy, 483). The final step in either a progressive or a positive discipline procedure is termination. Ashville Company should also be aware of certain behaviors that are unacceptable and that would require immediate discharge. These behaviors should be described thoroughly in the discipline procedure (acas.org).
To implement the discipline procedure and ensure its effectiveness, Ashville Company must first be sure that the policy is written down and communicated effectively to every employee. The company should also train employees and supervisors on all aspects of the procedure. The standards in the procedure must be perceived as fair. Standards of performance should me measurable and included in employee’s performance evaluations. Because Ashville is doing well in performance measures, this should not be a problem for the company. Overall, the positive discipline strategy should work well with Ashville’s desire to have a high performance culture.