To wrap up our exploration of the popular opinion of sanctions in the workplace, we’ll discuss the ultimate result that disciplinary action aims to produce.
DISCIPLINARY ACTION MUST LEAD TO IMPROVEMENT.
Based on previous discussions, we know that sanctions can be used in various non-constructive ways. For excessively strict organizations, they can be collectively used as a brute force disciplinary method. Meanwhile, leaders who abuse disciplinary action as a weapon or tool to get what they want from other employees are commonly found in organizations with a lot of internal politics.
In either case, sanctions are not being used in the most effective manner. It is important to remember that the true goal for punishing an offender is to guide them to avoid the same decisions that resulted in their offense. In other words, disciplinary action is intended to provide opportunities for employees to turn misconduct into proper workplace conduct.
The improper use of, or even outright disregard for, the disciplinary process undermines this developmental aspect. Excessive harshness drives offenders to give up their efforts to improve. A workplace with constant power struggle is not a conducive place for professionals to grow and develop their behavior.
The most effective ways to ensure that disciplinary action still produces the best results among an organization’s members have already been discussed in this series:
- Educate everyone on the organization’s disciplinary policies and procedures.
- Compel disciplinary authorities to treat sanctions as a responsibility.
- Uphold due process for every disciplinary case.
All of these things work in synergy, and can be viewed as part of a cycle: widespread awareness helps everyone identify, call out and prevent potential abuses of authority. The disciplinary bodies are thus compelled to constantly uphold justice in the execution of their duties. With a culture of justice prevailing, due process is observed for all disciplinary cases and sets the standard for the organization to follow in the future. When this standard is refined or improved, proper information dissemination helps everyone become aware of the changes.
It must be emphasized that these are all steps that involve the entire organization. Everyone must collaborate to make all these measures possible. More than anything else, this illustrates that the employee behavior development is a collective endeavor; in trying to improve the workplace conduct of one offender, the organization is trying to improve the workplace conduct of all within it.
So what are you waiting for? Before the wrong kind of disciplinary culture is born in your organization, make sure it doesn’t get the chance. Work with everyone to nurture the right attitude towards sanctions in your workplace, and enjoy the transformative benefits.