Enforcement of Discipline: Element 5

Written by: Sam Jones

When you encounter someone’s dog, you can learn a lot about them. One aspect that becomes immediately evident is how effectively they enforce discipline. We’ve all witnessed those impressive dogs that obediently follow every command from their owner. These dogs sit and wait patiently until they are released; upon hearing words like “Here” or “Come,” they return to their owner without hesitation. On the flip side, there are dogs that persistently defy their owner’s commands, requiring physical intervention to make them sit or disregarding calls to return when off leash.

What causes this stark contrast? While part of it may be attributed to the dog’s personality, the primary factor is discipline. Owners with well-trained dogs have invested time in consistently reinforcing rules and commands. This transformation doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time for the dog to understand the benefits of compliance.

The same principle applies to the next essential element of an effective compliance program: Enforcement of Discipline. This element might not be the most glamorous and could be perceived as “unnecessary” because people believe they are inherently “good.” However, good people can go astray or make significant mistakes, even with the best intentions. Hence, having disciplinary actions in place is crucial. Just as policies and procedures are meaningful only when acted upon, the same holds true for the enforcement of discipline.

In terms of enforcing discipline, the fairness applied throughout the organization plays a pivotal role in effectiveness. Are there different standards for board members compared to frontline employees? Does the disciplinary committee evaluate non-compliance issues consistently when applying policies? Maintaining fair and consistent enforcement significantly influences how seriously employees take compliance. If there’s a perception that leadership operates under different standards than those lower in the organizational hierarchy, employees may disregard compliance as unimportant.

A reliable way to assess the enforcement of discipline is through documentation. Documenting cases within the organization serves multiple purposes. Firstly, in the event of a government audit, clear documentation of compliance program enforcement is available. Secondly, previous standards can be referenced for similar non-compliance issues, promoting consistency and fairness.

While most individuals may not relish disciplining colleagues for non-compliance, it is crucial for the effectiveness of the compliance program. Remember, maintain consistency in enforcement regardless of leadership levels, and always document your actions.

Most business leaders get frustrated when employees don’t do the right thing.  You shouldn’t have to convince people to do what is right.  MCA builds a compliance program and a culture where employees do the right thing, the right way, at the right time so you can focus on taking care of the people you serve.

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Midwest Compliance Associates

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