Work instructions bear a resemblance to procedures but differ from them in that they provide detailed directions consistent with requirements for activities defined in procedures.
They specifically outline the tasks that are to be done in operationalizing a procedure.
Example– one of the stages in a procedure may require that “an accused employee appear before a disciplinary committee” .The work instruction will spell out the resultant tasks to operationalize that step of the procedure i.e.
- Set appropriate date for the disciplinary meeting and agenda
- Seek management concurrence on the date and agenda
- Prepare folders for all members of the disciplinary committee
- Inform and Invite disciplinary committee members to the meeting
- Inform the employee of the meeting and date, venue and time and requirements from him
- Convene the meeting, take minutes, forward them to management for approval etc.
- Identifying the need
Procedures should never be developed for the sake of it. There must be a felt need for them based on factors such as the Complexity of the processes and their interactions. Lack of a need for a procedure can lead to duplication of effort and over documentation.
Policy makers must therefore satisfy themselves that a need exists for a procedure to be put in place to address certain shortfalls in the current practice.
- Authority for the development of procedure
The need to have the procedure must be well documented in the form of a request to the top management giving reasons to justify the procedure. The reasons given should emphasize that all the stages in a procedure will be value adding to avoid duplication of effort or wasted effort
Procedures must be approved by a person to whom empowerment to authorize has been given.
- Defining the scope
The author must establish the precise scope to be covered by the procedure to avoid deviation from the objectives or policy.
Failure to understand the limits of the procedure could result in a procedure traversing into areas that digress from the original intent and therefore cause conflict in the operational processes
- Collecting & documenting current information
In collecting current information the various sources from both within and outside the organization form a good base for comparison.
Document how the desired activity is carried out step-by-step using a practical approach. i.e visualize the process stage by stage considering the following:
- What shall be done
- Who will do it
- How it will be done
- When it will be done
- Where it shall be done
- Which (materials, documents etc.) shall be used
- What if
- Preparing a draft procedure
In the drafting of the procedure a committee or team approach is recommended. Those involved in the implementation of the procedure should be part of the team involved in drafting of the procedure.
- Obtaining comments on draft procedure
The Persons & departments concerned should review the initial draft to see if it is workable and if not, then
Modifications should be incorporated
- Obtain authorization for use of procedure
It is necessary to obtain approval or authorization for the procedure if any amendments were made. An appropriate person usually top management approves the procedure once amendments are incorporated & checked.
- Issue procedure
Issue the procedure to make it operational. The procedure should be launched by the management to show their commitment and make it effective. The HR should ensure that the procedure is followed in order to achieve the purpose for which it was created.
- Review the procedure
After implementation for some time (between six to eighteen months) it should be reviewed & if necessary amendments can be made and/or revised procedure issued. It is expected that by this time the HR will have received adequate feedback on the use of the procedure and on the basis of this may recommend amendments to the existing procedure.
SAMPLE DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE
It is the policy of the company that if any disciplinary action has to be taken against employees, it shall
- Be undertaken only in cases where good reason and clear evidence exists
- Be appropriate to the nature of the offence that has been committed
- Be demonstrably fair and consistent with previous action in similar circumstances
- Take place only when employees are aware of the standards that are expected of them or the rules with which they are required to conform
- Allow employees the right to be represented by a representative or colleague during any formal proceedings
- Allow employees the right of appeal against any disciplinary action
The company is responsible for ensuring that up to date rules are published and available to all employees.
The procedure is carried out in the following stages:
- Informal warning –
- A verbal or informal warning is given to the employee in the first instance or instances of minor offences.
- The warning is administered by employee’s immediate supervisor or manager
Formal warning –
- Written formal warning is given to the employee in the first instance of more serious offences or repeated instances or minor offences.
- The warning is administered by employee’s immediate supervisor or manager – It states the exact nature of the offence and indicates any future disciplinary action, which will be taken against the employee if the offence is repeated within a specified time limit.
- A copy of the written warning is placed in employee’s personnel record file but is destroyed 12 months after the date on which it was given, if the intervening service has been satisfactory.
- The employee is required to read and sign the formal warning and has a right to appeal to higher management if he/she thinks the warning is unjustified.
- The HR Manager should be asked to advice on the text of the written warning.
Further disciplinary action –
- If despite previous warnings an employee still fails to reach the required standard in a reasonable period of time it may become necessary to consider further disciplinary action.
- The action taken may be up to three days suspension without pay, or dismissal. In either case the departmental manager should discuss the matter with the human resource manager before action. Staff below the rank of departmental manager may only recommend disciplinary action to higher management, except when their manager is not present, in such instances they may suspend the employee for up to one day pending an inquiry on the following day.
- Disciplinary action should not be confirmed until the appeal procedure has been carried out.
- An employee may be summarily dismissed (i.e. given instant dismissal with notice only in the event of gross misconduct, as defined in company rules and regulations and in the employment Act)
- Only departmental managers and above can recommend summary dismissal, and the action should not be finalised until the case has been carried out.
- To enable this review to take place, employees should be suspended on half pay pending further investigation, which must take place within one week.
- In all circumstances, an employee may appeal against suspension, dismissal with notice, or summary dismissal.
- The appeal is conducted by a member of management who is more senior than the manager who initially administered the disciplinary action. The HR manager should also be present at the hearing.
- If he or she wishes, the employee may be represented at the appeal by a fellow employee of his or her own choice.
- Appeal against summary dismissal or suspension should be done within 14 days and 7 days for other appeals. No disciplinary action that is subject to appeal is confirmed until the outcome of the appeal.
- If an appeal against dismissal (but not suspension) is rejected at this level, the employee has the right to appeal to the Chief Executive or the Board of Directors. The head of HR and, if required, the employee’s should be present at this appeal
- The decision of the board on the matter is final and binding on the employee.
- An employee can however still seek redress at a court of law if he so wishes.