Progressive Discipline: A changing trend in HR

How do you discipline your employees?

Like most organizations, our firm believes it is essential to continue learning, growing, testing, and understanding trends within human resources that can ultimately benefit our clients. Human Resources encounters a variety of frequent changes through employment law, state requirements, and overall employer behaviors.

To keep a handle on modifications; organizations of all shapes and sizes commonly turn to one policy to manage their “bad” employees in hopes of correcting behavior, attendance issues, poor performance, etc. This concept is what we know as progressive discipline.

Do you have a Progressive Discipline Policy/Procedure?

If you do, most likely, it follows this four-step process:

  1. Verbal Warning
  2. Written Warning
  3. Final Warning
  4. Termination/Probation

(If you are unsure if you have a Progressive Discipline Policy/Procedure, HR Elements recommends reviewing your Handbook.)

Ask yourself these questions:  Are we applying progressive discipline consistently throughout the organization?  What benefits do we see from using the four-step process?  Is this program motivating or demotivating our employees? The largest misconception is that progressive discipline will protect a company from law suits; in fact, most companies are far from protected even with the program. With progressive discipline, some companies can even be at higher risk.

How is progressive discipline changing?

Liz Ryan shares her truth on progressive discipline, and how this impacts the growth of your business. It is clear, too much time is spent attempting to manage underperforming employees instead of rewarding and coaching-up top talent can be an ineffective use of your time and a real buzz kill to employee morale. Your top performers are loyal, they buy into the culture, and they want you to succeed. When you’re transparent and take a collaborative approach, you’re enhancing team involvement and increasing participation.

Changing your discipline strategy:

Some of you may ask, don’t we need this documentation to protect us? We aren’t saying eliminate documentation. Much like the famous phrase “work smarter, not harder”, we recommend being proactive. Managers should utilize frequent check-in meetings with their employees to discuss items such as: workload, overall performance, goals, and career paths. This approach requires some managers to shift their mindset from punishment to motivating employees.

Scheduling mini updates once a week, month or quarter can be helpful and constructive. The frequency of these meetings is dependent upon your management style, company culture, and employee needs; remember consistency is key. Bottom line is to keep the lines of communication open with your employees.

If you are interested in removing progressive discipline in your company and wish to take this proactive approach, communication is key.  Talk with your employees about the changes and remember to update any employment policies or handbooks. Contact HR Elements, we can help!

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One Tip to Stay Compliant

What document is frequently overlooked during the on-boarding process?

Offer Letters, job descriptions, payroll information, etc.? If you guessed Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, then you guessed right.

The Form I-9 is often ignored during the on-boarding process, and there are numerous ways the document does not meet the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expectation: a name is miss spelled, an employee forgets to check their status, the second page is not completed by an authorized representative of a company, and much more.

Additionally, and most importantly, the USCIS is always revising the Form. This year we’ve seen two revised forms.

This past January, the HR world and new hires saw some major changes. The changes included:

  • The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly.
  • The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators.
  • A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins.
  • A supplemental page for the preparer/translator.
  • The instructions were separated from the form to include specific detail to complete each field.

The revised document went into effect officially on January 22, 2017. However, the USCIS made some minor revisions this July. These changes include:

  • Revisions to the Form I-9 instructions
  • Revisions to the List of Acceptable Documents

Please be sure to update the Form I-9 before September 18, 2017. 

If you are concerned about your I-9 files, it is best to consult an HR Advisor for next steps.

HR Elements Newest Team Member: Renee Hahn

While I was working on my MBA, several people asked me why I choose to specialize in the field of Human Resources.

It was such an easy answer for me: what other function gets to touch every part of the business and make positive contributions through the most valued of all resources! Mark Salsbury said it perfectly in his book Leveraging Your Workforce for a Competitive Advantage.

“…while extraordinary products and unique services still afford a competitive advantage,  the one advantage that stands the test of time…is people.”


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Top Ten Cost Effective Employee Recognition Ideas

Sue knocked it out of the park again today by closing that deal.  You want to recognize her hard work, long hours, and dedication but that small budget for employee recognition dried up months ago.  Looking for some ideas to show your gratitude and reinforce that success with the rest of the team?  Look no farther – here are some great ideas employee recognition ideas that don’t break the bank.

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I love apps that make my life easier. But you know what? They do truly need to make my life easier. They need to be more than sleek, or well designed, or cool looking. They need to have a purpose and they need to be user friendly and they need to earn their keep. That said, there are several productivity apps out there that fit the bill. Give these a try, let us know what you think of them, and let us know if you have any favorites that didn’t make this list.

PLANET SOHO is an online invoicing app that is great for smaller service providers. (SOHO stands for Small Office/Home Office.) Use Planet SOHO to send out invoices, accept Paypal payments directly through the app, manage inventory in real time and track contacts and sales calls. Planet Soho also offers design templates, everything you need to send professional documents. Plans start at $8.95/month with a 14-day free trial.

1PASSWORD offers a powerful and secure password manager and digital wallet in a sharp-looking package. It’s flexible, easy to use, works seamlessly in just about every web browser, and packs in the same features that you’ve come to expect from a premium password manager and secure document storage tool. The digital wallet allows you to securely store bank account/credit card information and payment info. Free.

IFTTT is a free web-based service that allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements, called “applets”, which are triggered based on changes to other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Examples include: tell Alexa to lock up at night, get tomorrow’s forecast at 10 pm each night, program your coffee maker to automatically start brewing at 6 am, save text of all bills signed by POTUS to your iOS reading list … the list of automated tasks IFTTT can perform for you is virtually limitless.

HIPCHAT is a team chat that’s built for business and that runs on any operating system AND as a web app (for those reluctant to download one more app). As well as a one-on-one and group/topic chat, it also features cloud-based file storage (which integrates nicely for group/topic chat), video calling, searchable message-history and inline-image wing. The app is free with in-app purchases and upgrades.

BLOOM is more of a personal achievement app than a business app, one that basically makes achieving what might be usually considered an ordinary thing quite an extraordinary digital experience. It’s a free app that gives users a real kickstart in doing what really matters in everyday life. It offers a fun and simple way to transform photos and music into a private or shared digital inspiration. You can set reminders that will notify you when it’s time to “Bloom” your goals (or tasks) – and those reminders can be randomized or set for particular dates and times. You can associate different images from your iPhone with each Bloom, and do the same with music from your iTunes library. Each Bloom comes with imagery attached already, so you can choose to go with those defaults or pick photos from your own library that fit the Bloom best. Blooms might include: take your dog for a walk, call your mom, shift gears after work-schedule a bloom with your favorite song and family photos, or psych yourself up for your workout. You can also share Blooms with anyone who has a Bloom account.

POCKET is an appl and service for managing a reading list of articles (videos too!) from the Internet. It’s built for desktop, mobile and as a web app. Its best feature might be that you can access and read saved materials OFFLINE. Plus the interface is a clean, easy-to-view layout that’s free of distractions, and you can customize Pocket to match your reading style. It includes unlimited storage, the ability to add tags to help find content quickly, and the ability to your articles with Text-to-Speech (potential game changer!). Free with in-app purchases.

GOOGLE DRIVE For a really long I resisted getting Gmail and Google Suite. I have no idea why. And now I don’t know how I’d live without it, and especially Google Drive. It is really ridiculously convenient for someone who works off of multiple computers and mobile drives. Seriously, probably the most useful app I’ve ever used.

GOOGLE KEEP was launched few years ago as, basically, a competitor to Evernote.  PC Magazine called it “the best free program you’re not using and perhaps never knew existed in the first place.” A note-taking app, Keep syncs between mobile and your computer’s web browser. Highlights include: search functions, conversion of voice recorded notes to text, and can “read” and transcribe text in photos. FREE.

EXPENSIFY is a convenient little app for small companies and people who work billable hours. Go paperless with Expensify for all your receipt and expense management needs – the first mobile expense reporting solution designed with both the user and accountant in mind. It allows you to track expenses, miles traveled and time worked on a project.  One of my two favorite Expensify features is the OCR intelligent scanning that pulls information from photos of your receipts and automatically records them in the appropriate text fields. My other favorite is that this app allows you to use the GPS technology in your mobile device to track the miles traveled during your business trip. These miles are recorded in a format that is acceptable for reporting to the IRS when you are ready to file your taxes so you can take advantage of deductions from your work-related travels.

HR Professional Wanted

HR Elements is looking for an HR professional to lead recruiting for our existing base of clients and also provide general HR support as needed. Hours and days worked is flexible. You will work primarily from your home and occasionally visit client locations.

Qualified candidates will have:
Bachelors degree in human resources preferred
3+ years experience in human resources and/or recruiting
Excellent communication skills
An ability to manage client and candidate relationship
Time Management and Organizational Skills
A proven Customer Service track record
The ability to proactively source passive candidates
Self driven and accountable

Email Tina Taylor at