By Nico Strydom
Discipline is often described as the foundation on which any workplace functions and the enforcement of discipline will lead to a more productive and less stressful atmosphere.
The purpose of discipline in the workplace is among others to ensure that all employees are treated equally and to put codes of conduct into place so that employees know what is expected of them.
A disciplined work environment facilitates management as well as employees being on their best behaviour. When management complies strictly with a company’s protocol regarding discipline, it will set an example for employees who will then know precisely what is expected of them and what the penalty would be should they transgress.
Discipline in the workplace goes hand in hand with efficiency as employees must be disciplined to deliver inputs of quality in a timely fashion. Discipline also contributes to a peaceful workplace. When no specific guidelines regarding conduct are in place it often leads to uncertainty and an impulsive and erratic workplace. Discipline also ensures safety in a workplace.
As with most relationships, the work relationship between the employer and employee should function on the basis of trust and understanding to maintain discipline.
However, according to Gawie Cillié, work relationship expert and lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch’s School of Management, the relationship between South African employees and employers is of the poorest in the world.
South Africa is in the line of 37 countries on the World Economic Forum’s list of rankings for competitiveness. According to Cillié, this alarming result is linked directly to the low levels of trust between employer and employees.
Cillié is of the opinion that trust and commitment lead to voluntary cooperation, which drives performance.
In and effort to improve trust in employers’ and employees’ work relationships, Cillié shares a few tips for organisations who would prefer to rather see conflict as an opportunity for cooperation which would benefit the organisation as a whole. Often conflict is also the result of a lack of discipline.
According to Cillié, the potential for conflict must be noticed and handled as soon as it rears its ugly head. This means that management must learn how to handle difficult discussions and employees, in a group as well as individually, should be involved and kept informed.
University of Stellenbosch Business School: https://www.usb.ac.za/usb_news/how-to-improve-labour-employer-relations-in-the-workplace/
When I Work: https://wheniwork.com/blog/employee-discipline/
AZ Central: https://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/importance-discipline-organization-4661.html
Bright HR: https://www.brighthr.com/brightbase/topic/employee-conduct/discipline