Businesses can avoid pain, expense and damage through informal staff discipline

Fri 30th Sep 2016

Philip Sayers says that an ‘informal’ approach to discipline is usually the best way to deal with minor employment issues.

“At Coodes, we have noticed more businesses using a formal disciplinary process to deal with relatively minor or one-off staff issues. Of course, it is important for everyone that staff shortcomings are properly addressed, but these issues can often be dealt with informally. The unnecessary use of the formal process can become hugely expensive in time and money as well as being fatal to the employment relationship for the future. That can serve no one’s interest.

“So, for one-off or less serious ongoing issues, perhaps around timekeeping, inappropriate dress at work or minor performance concerns, a better approach might be to have a less formal initial process. This could involve a straight discussion about what is going wrong, what is expected and an opportunity for explanation. That might then be followed up with a friendly communication that records what was agreed should change. This can often get the result needed without the pain, expense and damage of a formal process.

“Of course, for more serious issues, such as cases of bullying or harassment for example, or if your informal approach fails to work, then a formal approach is entirely appropriate.

“We have recently seen a number of clients subjected to disciplinary processes which are really over the top and have resulted in a complete breakdown in the relationship between the individual and the company. All of this is completely unnecessary.”

For more information on this or any Employment enquiries contact Philip Sayers on 0800 328 3282 or email

Fri 30th Sep 2016

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