Alternative Discipline: How to Keep Your Employees Viable after They Have Gone through the Discipline Process

Alternative Discipline: How to Keep Your Employees Viable after They Have Gone through the Discipline Process?
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-04-05
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Alternative Discipline
Unit 2Transcript: Alternative Discipline
Unit 3Workbook: Alternative Discipline
Unit 4Recording: Alternative Discipline

Implementing disciplinary measures in the workplace are performance and accountability mechanisms to ensure that the workforce is performing up to a certain standard and are not violating any standards or policies set forth. However, the discipline administered may backfire and instead of having a remorseful employee that wants to correct past mistakes, the employee ends up disgruntled, underperforming, dissatisfied, and skeptical. Al Cobos proposes a win-win solution so that both the organization and the employee see the value and benefit from the disciplinary process.

Al Cobos has over 31 years of law enforcement experience and is an award-winning faculty member of the University of Phoenix Southern California campus. He currently serves as a Sergeant at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Training Bureau’s Education-Based Discipline And Leadership Unit. He’s also the owner and primary consultant of Dychelon LLC.

Specifics of the course include:

  • What Alternative Discipline is.
  • Considerations to the discipline process that organizations look into in terms of the employees’ experience, the organization’s responsibility in administering discipline, keeping employees viable after receiving discipline, and the benefits of an employee-centered disciplinary procedure.
  • How employees tend to perform after experiencing a disciplinary process and the reason behind it.
  • The goals of an Alternative Discipline model in terms of correcting behavior, reducing management-employee conflict, offering behavior-focused education, and keeping employees viable after the disciplinary process.
  • The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s development and implementation of the Alternative Discipline model.
    • How long it took to develop the program.
    • How the process has been utilized since 2009.
    • The formula on how training offsets traditional disciplinary measures.
    • It’s applicability for different types of disciplinary measures and violations.
    • How it is offered as an option and not mandated.
  • A look into the different types of agencies that have implemented or considered utilizing Alternative Discipline.
  • Making the program as user friendly as possible by employing a disciplinary schedule that outline the different education and training options available for policy violations.
  • The different education and training options made available in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and an example of how this is applied to a time keeping policy violation.
  • A rundown of the most frequently used Alternative Discipline courses and a brief discussion on what these entail.
  • Making the discipline process as neutral and fair as possible by setting standards and leveraging procedural justice.
  • Questions to ask when implementing an Alternative Discipline program that looks into:
    • The existing disciplinary method being used and the frequency it is administered.
    • The types of violations eligible for Alternative Discipline.
    • The rights and protections of the employees particularly for union representation.
    • Whether the training will be offered on duty.
  • Critical elements that must be present when implementing Alternative Discipline in the form of:
    • Buy-in and support from the leaders and the willingness to try an alternative approach to disciplining employees.
    • Champions within the organization that promote the Alternative Discipline program.
    • Select training topics to be offered and proficient instructors to deliver the training.

Points raised during the Q&A segment are about:

  • Statistics that can be used to support the value of an Alternative Discipline program.
  • Implementing the trainings as part of a performance improvement plan for agencies that do not use suspensions.
  • Limits of Alternative Discipline based on the nature or type of violation.
  • Creating a sense of fairness and neutrality through procedural justice.
  • Curriculum for the training topics included in the Alternative Discipline program.



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Resources & Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “A different way to discipline. Learning that taking a course can have an impact on improving an employee’s work.” — Claudia
  • “The idea about how exchanging a four-hour training course could reduce one suspension day; and how then a multiple day suspension could in fact be essentially cut in half. Good for the mental impact on the affected employee and good for the agency with regard to staffing concerns for the perceived time period that the employee would have been gone!” — Mary
  • “It is good that we were provided with a list of educational and training options to consider as an alternative or support to traditional disciplinary sanctions.” — Joseph
  • “This gives me a different perspective on the way discipline can be administered. I am one of those staff that is irritated and want to leave a 20+ year career because of this very topic. Thanks for the insight.” — James
  • “It was interesting to learn about this approach to discipline and how it can actually result in a stronger workforce (i.e. address training gaps). I think it was also helpful to hear about how this was implemented successfully in such a large agency.” — Emily
  • “It was good to look outside the box on other options for discipline that might actually help staff grow and become better employees.” — Susie
  • “I thought that the topic was relevant and provided some great suggestions and ideas. Loved the chart with the suggestions of training topics for specific disciplinary issues.” — Jamie
  • “I took lots of notes on this presentation, as I believe my agency could benefit from a more structured discipline process.” — Diana
  • “Excellent presentation. I hope the instructor has chosen his successor when he retires in a few months. More agencies need to be informed about this topic. Thank you!” — Roseann


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