For me it’s a privilege to be invited into an organisation, to see how they tick and to learn from their expertise. Last week I attended part of a leadership programme that we are delivering within an organisation. The programme is divided into sessions which are delivered several weeks apart so that people can practice the skills, then receive coaching and feedback between the sessions.
As part of the ‘Courageous Conversations’ module we delivered, the Human Resource Manager outlined the disciplinary process for that organisation. While I have heard the legal framework outlined many times, I was interested to note that in her description she didn’t mention the word ‘legal’ at any point in her presentation. In fact, she emphasised that the focus for their process was on being fair and just. She outlined several options as an outcome for the disciplinary process – for example training or coaching, along with more formal disciplinary procedures.
What is even more interesting is the change this organisation has experienced over time. They have moved from a situation where there was almost one disciplinary proceeding per week (it is a large organisation) several years ago, to where there are now very few disciplinary proceedings.
Enabling Performance Feedback Opportunities
So how have they done it? By enabling the leaders in their organisation with the skills to give performance feedback right there and right now. As a result, poor performance is noticed as soon as it emerges, feedback is given to the employee, along with measures to improve performance. Leaders are taught the skills and a process for giving feedback. They are equipped with the skills to manage the situation when the feedback is not well received.
The other interesting point is that these leadership skills are not just reserved for senior managers but are taught at all levels of the organisation – supervisors, team leaders and emerging leaders. Leaders receive coaching and feedback on their own performance and as such, the model is supported and reinforced at all levels in the organisation.
Other activities have supported this framework. There is clear vision, values and goals for this organisation. There is training for the various roles, along with training manuals and assessment guides.
Together, this has resulted in a change of culture from on-going disciplinary proceedings to a culture which supports and reinforces good performance and a positive workplace environment.
It is a privilege to work alongside them.