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Tips for handling disciplinary interviews

Disciplinary interviews can be stressful situations for both parties and using the following tips can ensure they run smoothly:-

1. Prepare beforehand – make sure you have all the facts of the case and prepare a set of questions you want to ask the employee. Similarly, when an employee is prepared the meeting can be less emotionally fraught. It is helpful to provide guidance to the employee beforehand on how the meeting will be conducted and how they should prepare for it. This becomes more important in the case of gross misconduct where an employee may be suspended and their employment could be at risk – it may be suitable to provide a ‘case worker’ for the employee to support them in preparing for the meeting.

2. Prepare an agenda and outline it at the start of the meeting – this should include the aspects you need to have covered by law e.g. reason for calling the hearing, right to be accompanied, right to appeal etc.

3. Use adjournments – if new evidence comes to light, if the employee is becoming upset, if you need to come to a decision

4. Be calm and ask straightforward questions – use closed questions to ascertain or summarise facts. Did you attend the training on ……? Use open questions to seek further explanations. When did you …….?

5. Follow your procedure – if your disciplinary procedure outlines a structure for conducting disciplinary interviews then follow it to the latter.

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