Rebranding Progressive Discipline

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Jun 13, 2019
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There are so many variables that affect employee performance. The manager’s performance goes a long way in determining the contribution of the group and every individual comprising it. This centers on the manager’s leadership style, feedback, conduct of performance evaluations, and handling of critical incidents (good and bad), to name a few. No matter what, though, some employees will not perform well or might engage in behavior very deleterious to the organization. In that case, action is warranted, and that action might include progressive discipline, which could lead to termination. However, some suggest that progressive discipline can be re-labeled and applied differently.

Miller states that it is time to rebrand ‘progressive discipline’. He states that traditionally, discipline is ‘negative’ and viewed as a process of warnings with increasingly dire consequences if behavior or performance issues are not improved. Though potentially fruitful, progressive discipline is not simple to implement. The process should involve accurate measurement and fair and just evaluation, planning, patience, and careful observation.

Employees deserve to know how well they are performing. Discipline can be interpreted as one type of feedback. Progressive discipline can thus lean toward a more positive approach to reduce the chances that termination will be required. Progressive discipline when communicated as a series of structured achievements can be at the root of a quality improvement system built to manage good behavior.(1) Miller states that this is more than simply a matter of words. Managers address performance or behavior issues with their staff differently. One might tell the employee that he or she needs feedback, is getting feedback, and had better adhere to it... or else. Another manager may use a different tone by providing feedback on how to improve performance along with why the change needs to take place. This guidance is often reinforced with examples of how the employee has already achieved good performance in other related areas of his or her job duties. The manager then summarizes the standard that has to be met within a specific time frame. The goal is for the employee to be supported in a structured improvement process so that a good performance review-instead of termination-is the end result of the process.

Additional information about Human Resources Management Functions can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

1Miller L. It’s time to rebrand progressive discipline to structured achievements. J Med Pract Manage. 2014;29:314-316.

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Shane Desselle

Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy, Touro University California

1 Comments

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Shane Desselle 6 days ago

Do you think this is possible in all cases of poor employee performance?