Reprimands in the Workplace

Reprimanding is a form of punishment which is can be used in decreasing problematic behaviors. It simply means to be scolded, yelled at, and bawled out or to be chastised verbally for exhibiting unwanted target behavior. Reprimands are useful when a person is engaging in mannerisms that call for immediate action because maybe it is harmful to others, self, or to property. Reprimands should be explicitly and selectively used in response to particular mannerisms or behaviors. They should also be inclusive of a statement of the required behavior which of course is the opposite of inappropriate behavior. For the reprimands to be effective the user must be specific. They should also come immediately, use a physical demeanor or a firm voice, back up the reprimand with some loss of privileges, and encourage the person to behave appropriately by stating the correct behaviors explicitly. In this article, we will focus on reprimanding unacceptable behaviors among employees and their effects since it is notable in many organizations that some workers may fail to perform to the required levels of production or performance.

Reprimands in the Workplace

Methods of Reprimanding

There are two types of employee reprimands that are verbal and non-verbal. Before any employee is verbally or non-verbally reprimanded it is always good to conduct thorough investigations. For example, the supervisor must investigate the facts surrounding the main cause. The supervisor should also review the employment records of the employer to determine whether there were other occurrences of the same mistake. Before any action is taken specifically in cases that might involve suspension or dismissal disciplinary, the supervisor should ensure that human resources which deal with employee relations are informed. The supervisor must also meet with the employee before he determines the kind of action to take and also arrange for the union representatives to be available if the employee requests.

The supervisor should also determine the appropriate action basing it on progressive discipline where it is appropriate. The verbal reprimand can be defined as the verbal notice given to an employee reminding him that his performance must be improved. These verbal reprimands will explicitly define the corrective or improvement action to be taken. They also inform the worker about the consequences of failing to comply with the stated verbal warning. The heads of departments should also record the date and the subject of the verbal reprimand. He should also place a confirmation of the verbal reprimand in the personal file of the employee. In the process of verbal reprimanding the supervisor must meet with the employee and discuss the cause of the problem. He should also inform the employees about the specific problem, give them the solution to that particular problem and warn them about the consequences of the repeated mistake.

A written reprimand is a more serious disciplinary action compared to a verbal reprimand. A written reprimand is a letter from a responsible supervisor to an employee in which that particular employee’s unacceptable or unsatisfactory behavior or work performance is explained and the necessity to change is highlighted. It also warns of the future disciplinary procedures that shall be taken in case of the continuous absence of improvement in terms of performance. A written reprimand is mainly effective when the previous written or oral warnings have not been successful. Sometimes the written reprimand can be used as the first disciplinary action especially if the mistake requires urgent and serious attention. It is easily differentiated from a verbal warning and admonition because it is placed in the employee’s personal file and remains there for a specified period of time. Formal processes for example such a hearing by a special panel may be made available for the employees before they are sanctioned. The employees are however entitled to know explicitly what performances or behaviors have been found to be lacking and reiterate or even dispute the findings before a written reprimand is given out. The supervisor must not only tell the employee his deficiencies and but also request for an explanation, information, or any other evidence which the employee may be having and which can bring change into the supervisor’s understanding of the real issue. On the other hand, the supervisors have the responsibility of considering the information and the contrary evidence the employee has submitted before he issues a reprimanding letter.

A written reprimand should be in form of a letter signed by the supervisor and addressed to the employee. It is delivered to the employee with a lot of confidentiality or sent through the postal services of which a return receipt is always requested. It contains the elements such as the description of behavior that has been found to be unacceptable, the description of the supervisor’s future expectations, and the remedial activities to be undertaken by the employee. It also describes the disciplinary actions to be taken if there will be no improvement, the period that written reprimand is expected to last and the notice to the employee that he must place a rebuttal of the written reprimand in the personal file as long as the written reprimand is also available. If an employee doesn’t comply with the written reprimands then a suspension without pay is applied. The supervisor must consult with the human resources management before a decision is reached. The employee must be informed about this decision by the supervisor or management and at the same time, a copy of the letter must be added to the employee’s profile. The letter must specify the offense and the steps to be taken in case of its reoccurrence. Demotion happens to be another kind of punishment due to the continuous reoccurrences of the suspension without pay. Again if a reprehensible act is committed after two or more suspensions the employee will be subject to dismissal.

The Positive and Negative Effects of Reprimanding

The reprimanding of employees may lead to hatred whereby the manager or the supervisor is disliked by the employees. This may breed the problem of insurbodation where the employees become defiant. Some of the reprimanded employees become demoralized and their levels of production continue to dwindle. However, reprimanding whether verbal or non-verbal can bring some positive results. Some workers feel insecure when reprimanded but if not reprimanded they feel safe to withdraw the inappropriate act. It can lead to improved performance and a more positive focus on the work. This is because it sets the stage for a better relationship between the reprimanded employee and the manager. If the supervisor and the manager resolve the problem for which an employee is remanded then the employee will take that as a sign of goodwill and he will be consequently motivated.

It is good not to reprimand workers in public because it is embarrassing and the employees may become resentful. The supervisor should also not mention just the bad sides of the employee but he should also mention the positive aspects, therefore, making the criticism less painful. The employee should be explicitly enlightened on his weaknesses and give specific reasons as to why he has been reprimanded. The supervisor should also give the employee the opportunity to present his side of the story before the reprimand is issued by encouraging dialogue. Finally, it will be good to do an explicit investigation about the causes of the unacceptable behavior before the reprimand is issued. The written reprimands should be delivered to the employee with absolute confidentiality alternatively once exposed the employee might get angered and lose his morale thus resulting in decreased performance.

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