How to Discipline Rude Behavior at Work
Rudeness presents itself at work in a variety of ways that can undermine a manager's authority, belittle employees and anger customers. Your company must clearly define what is unacceptable behavior by employees along with definite consequences for rude acts. Do not be afraid to face confrontation that might result from dealing with inappropriate behavior, instead be prepared for it and address it professionally in a swift no-nonsense manner.
Put in place a firm policy regarding the type of behavior that is not accepted in the workplace. A written document in the employee manual is essential. Having something in print to refer to, especially something signed by the employee, is important when you address any incident of rude behavior. The company policy must clearly detail what your business believes are rude actions with examples such as demeaning speech or actions, refusing to speak politely and with respect to others and ignoring attempts by management or peers to talk and work in a civil manner with you.
Take care to document an event of rude behavior that violates company policy when it occurs. If this is a one-time instance in which someone simply had a bad day, the document does not have to remain a part of his personal record. On the other hand, for those employees who often react inappropriately out of a failure to maintain temper or for other reasons, it is smart to begin documenting instances as soon as they are observed. This record will serve as your evidence when you speak to the employee regarding the behavior in a performance review or during a personal disciplinary session.
Initiate a private discussion when rude behavior is severe or consistent. Tell the employee immediately why you need to speak to her. Don't beat around the bush as this might heighten the uncomfortable atmosphere between you and your worker. Instead, let your employee know what has been alleged and the incidents you documented. Give her a moment to formulate a response. She might have issues she needs to address regarding her working conditions. Be ready to listen to her comments. Let her know this is a verbal warning and you are ready to support and guide her in changing her negative behavior.
In situations in which employees fail to respond appropriately to verbal discussions regarding rude actions, it is often necessary to proceed on to a formal written warning. This is a document that gives details regarding company policy, the employee's offenses, the previous verbal warning and the requirement that the employee desist from rude behaviors. The manager should present this to the worker in person and request the employee sign the document. The manager should also sign and date the warning and place it in the employee's personnel file.
Following failed verbal and written warnings, talk to the troubled employee about an improvement plan. This is a call of action to the staff member that not only explains to him that he needs to change behavior but supplies structured support during this period. Work together on ways to help the employee control his temper by taking himself out of the situation at hand or bringing down his emotions by counting. Give definite dates to show improvement. Explain that the performance improvement plan is immediately effective and the changes must be made to avoid suspension, demotion or termination.