They should also know where to find this vital piece of information so that corrective action is taken to view the seriousness of the situation.
Moreover, keeping a record of written warnings is very important as it may reduce the risk of legal liability. Employers can make better decisions while having a good knowledge of the facts and figures.
Without written records, there can be a considerable risk for the business. Should a legal dispute arise from this situation, your company will be covered with the proper and legally acceptable documentation.
To manage your employee documents better, you can use different document management software in your business. But make sure that you choose software that is up to high data protection standards.
How To Write A Good Employee Warning Letter
Verbal warnings will often be an employer's first resort when an employee's unacceptable performance becomes alarming. While you may not want to be too harsh on your employees, the written warning strategy should never be too far off your mind in these types of situations.
Although a written warning is often regarded as a punitive or even terminating resource, it can yield many positive outcomes and benefits for a struggling employee. Let's find out how to ensure that you are always fair and commendable in your disciplinary actions.
Establish Your Tone
Your warning letter's tone should set the scene for the ensuing disciplinary hearing. It should also construe your objectives.
Are you concerned with bettering an employee's work standards, attitude, and behavior, or have you reached the point where termination is the only outcome left? A guiding or supportive warning letter will have a lighter tone than one prompting a termination.
Coordinate With Management
Unless you understand the situation very well and have plenty of experience in employee disciplinary action, you should consult with other managers and HR specialists when writing your employee warning.
You will probably find that your level-appropriate managers can provide plenty of useful feedback and insight, especially those leaders that have worked directly with the employee in question. You should also decide who will write the warning and who will be tasked with delivering it.
While HR specialists and experienced managers can write an appropriate warning letter, it would be best if the supervisor that worked most closely with the employee under scrutiny conducts the delivery. This familiar manager will know the situation best and how to communicate with the employee satisfactorily.
Formalize Your Letter
Beyond all the subtle and sensitive details that go into writing an employee warning letter, some formal guidelines also need to be considered. Consult your company policies and guidelines regarding warning letters, and format your letter accordingly.
In the case of a termination, your written warning could easily serve as a relevant legal document, and so you need to ensure that you were pedantic in your letter's structuring.
Refer To Company Policy
Employee warning notices should be drafted by the book. Consult your employee handbook when writing your employee warning notice and refer to the exact policies that the employee crossed.
A summarized charter will suffice if you do not have time to go through the contravened policies in such minute detail.
Be Objectively Thorough
The employee's offending behavior needs to be described in detail, along with any or all of the cases where the employee broke your company rules. It helps to include as many details as possible for each incident, such as the time, date, and place of the offenses.
You should also have a thorough background of the contraventions and be able to describe what happened in detail and which other employees were involved. It is vital that you leave emotions or personal biases out of the equation and remain as objective and truthful as possible when writing your recollections.
Outline Your Outcomes
Even if you have admirably carried out the employee warning letter procedure, it might all have been in vain if your outcomes weren't clearly stated or carried out.
An employee might not understand or appreciate the point of a thorough disciplinary hearing if you did not adequately communicate their collective point.
Let your employee know exactly what you would like them to change in their behavior or work standards. An unproductive employee warning letter severely admonishes an employee without providing constructive strategies or resources.
Define The Consequences
Equally crucial to your expected outcomes are the potential consequences of an employee's further misdemeanors. Be as precise as possible when defining the penalties for a second breach of company policy.
While threatening an employee with termination should be left as a last resort, the offending employee should know that you will not tolerate any further abuse of company resources or staff.
Gather Your Signatures
One of the final steps in this disciplinary process is to ensure that all the relevant participants sign their names on the document.
The needed signers are generally the manager issuing the warning, the receiving employee, and the witnesses that were present for the warning's issuing.
Personally Deliver The Warning
This might seem like an obvious condition, but please ensure that you deliver this written warning in a discreet and intimate manner. You can arrange a private meeting to hand the employee their warning letter personally.
Whatever modest tactic you land on, remember that simply emailing this warning letter to an employee or leaving a physical copy on their desk is unacceptable.
Some Employee Warning Pitfalls To Avoid
This disciplinary solution can become controversial if the proper guidelines aren't followed or if prejudice happens to form part of the charge. Let's make sure that you avoid these potentially ugly situations that can cause more harm to the business than the offending employee's misconduct.
Avoid Getting Personal
An employee warning letter must be written in the most professional and systemic way possible, meaning that any personal grudges or opinions must be left out of the rhetoric.
Remember that an employee is being disciplined for breaking company policy and not your personal standards or expectations.
Becoming emotional can derail the otherwise constructive nature of a formal warning letter, and an employee could easily misconstrue the entire situation as a personal attack.
Avoid Making Baseless Claims
Any claims or accusations that you level against an employee in your warning letter must be backed by hard evidence and must be in accordance with company policy.
If you would like to make your warning letter more credible, try to link the employee's wrongdoings to the actual harm done to a company's image, goals, and productivity.
Any baseless claims can not only be disproved by the employee but can also be turned against you with malpractice accusations. Witness statements are an excellent resource for adding credence to your warning letter's main points.
Avoid Being Unclear
You probably don't need to be told to write an employee warning letter as legibly and correctly as possible, but know that any punctuation or grammatical errors could cause this process to backfire.
The last thing that you want is for your employee warning letter to be misconstrued or become open to interpretation due to syntax errors. Be as clear and concise as possible, and make sure that the main points of your letter can't be left to interpretation.