Human resource mangers, or HR managers, use internal controls to ensure that employees complete objectives and abide by company rules. When an employee fails to follow the rules or meet objectives, HR managers use discipline controls to sanction the offending employee. This encourages the employee to follow the rules and work harder, and it also demonstrates consequences to the entire workforce. On the extreme end of control are discipline efforts such as suspension and termination.

Model of Control

An organization must outline what is expected of employees in company policies and handbooks. HR must also clearly state the what happens to individuals who fail to meet objectives or break rules. In most cases, different types of controls match with various infractions. HR managers must investigate any reports of employees violating policy. The investigation may include interviews with the offending employee, her supervisor and her co-workers. The move to use managerial control to discipline should show due process for legal and ethical reasons, and because unwarranted discipline lowers morale for all employees.

Control Issues

Managers and supervisors use official company policy, project plans and precedents as standards for instituting controls. Some situations call for more flexible controls, while others need rigid HR-enforced limitations. Issues under HR control include employee attendance, dishonesty, work performance and on-the-job behavioral problems. Most important to organizational objectives are controls tied to work performance such as completing work, producing quality work and meeting established performance standards. On the other side of disciplinary control are rewards and bonuses for proper or outstanding work performance. Ideally, HR tracks both types of performance.

Organizational Rules

A company’s rules are the foundation of HR’s management controls. Organizations must ensure that all employees are aware of the rules governing their departments and positions. HR managers should review the rules once or twice each year, updating the rules for relevancy and making all employees aware of the rule changes. HR managers can expect resistance from employees over any seemingly irrelevant rules, so many rules must be explained to employees.

Control and Discipline

The discipline portion of HR control should both inhibit infractions and strengthen desirable conduct. In some cases, discipline is withholding rewards, and in other circumstances, it means penalizing the employee by cutting pay, suspending him or terminating him. HR managers using progressive control use different performance points as guidelines, and they attempt to motivate employees to work toward the next level up. Slipping down past a performance level signals a need for heightened motivation. Too many level slips signals a need for discipline.