You’ve been in your new managerial position for about two months. It has been a challenging and rewarding experience so far, and you are eager to learn and grow along the way. One of your first duties was hiring an entry-level employee, who has been struggling with their performance over the past few weeks. It has gotten to the point that productivity is being affected, and their frustrations with their job is causing some tension amongst other coworkers. Would it be best to offer some coaching and training? To give them a written warning? To terminate them as they are still in their introductory period?

When it comes to discipline, where do you start? Especially for new managers, the prospect of having to deal with a troublesome employee can be incredibly daunting. This month, we will address three important steps to the disciplinary process, and how to efficiently navigate your way through each.

Step 1 – Familiarize Yourself with the Process: One of the most common systems companies use today is a progressive three-step process, starting with a verbal warning or record of discussion, a written warning, and then suspension or termination. Not only is it important to become familiar with each of these steps to be able to effectively administer disciplinary action and identify what offenses warrant what actions, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with preventative measures to avoid disciplinary action (e.g., reviewing expectations on a regular basis, offering mentoring and coaching, and documenting and reviewing behavior and performance consistently).

Step 2 – Discipline: What NOT to do: Just like nearly every aspect of employment, there is a right and a wrong way to administer discipline. Location, time, documentation, emotions, approach, and overall goals are all factors that can make or break a disciplinary meeting. Learn not only what to avoid during this meeting, but what not to do to ensure maximum efficiency.

Step 3 – Focus on Rehabilitation: The majority of offenses will start with either a verbal or written warning and will typically warrant a chance for rehabilitation. With this as your primary focus, you will likely get more employee cooperation and engagement with the end objective of improving or correcting the issue and moving forward in a productive manner.

Disciplining your employees doesn’t have to be the thing you dread most about your job. With the proper tools in place, you can hone in your skills to make this aspect of employment one that you are not only comfortable with, but good at. Seek help. Your HR department and HRCentral is here to help you navigate your way through these steps, ensuring that the process is as seamless and efficient as possible.