3. Surmounting the reluctance to put it in writing
Employee discipline must be the foreman’s most disliked activity. Front line supervisors seem to have a special need for being liked and accepted by their subordinates. They very much dislike the idea of a written disciplinary note. There is an advantage of replacing oral warnings with an informal written warning, in order to get supervisors in the habit of documenting performance issues. Here is how it works:
Certainly, before assuming the worse, foremen need to permit subordinates to explain the reason behind the poor performance. Permitting an employee to explain the reason why she was late does not make the supervisor weak. If the reason was not acceptable, the appropriate disciplinary step can be taken. Listening permits the supervisor to make an intelligent decision.
If the employee does not have a valid excuse, and after discussing the needed improvement, the foreman may say something like, “If the problem doesn’t surface again, this written warning stays just between the two of us. But if not, both this informal written warning as well as a new formal one will be shared with management and go into your records.”
One of the highlights of the seminar was the grower-producer breakfast during the second day. Class participants made and ranked a list of items they wished the owners to know. In return, the owners provided a list of their own, explaining what improvements they would like to see supervisors and foremen make. Here are seven of the most important items shared by each.
What foremen wished owners to know:
1. Praise individuals for a job well done.
2. Have owners take a class on supervisory skills.
3. Give foremen the opportunity to explain when they have made a mistake.
4. Take into consideration the opinions of foremen (regarding general issues as well as discipline of particular employees).
5. Provide foremen with more training on supervisory skills.
6. Reach out to workers in order to determine which foremen are doing a good job.
7. Conduct on-going meetings with foremen.
What owners wished foremen to know:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
2. Don’t say yes when you do not understand.
3. Pass on owner concerns to the employees.
4. Learn to delegate and do not attempt to fix all the problems yourself.
5. Take care of equipment and tools.
6. Do not cover up mistakes (problems with equipment or with people).
7. Loyalty goes both ways. Explain to workers the value of staying with us rather than jumping ship when they find a job that appears to be slightly better paid elsewhere.
For more information contact Billikopf at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 525-6800.