Performance Management

Improving Performance

Ensuring work meets expectations

You want to get the best out of your staff, but occasionally someone will fall short. We can help you tackle performance issues in a way that is fair and reasonable.

An employee playing games and relaxing while working from home.

We often hear concerns about an employee who appears to be underperforming. With the increase in home & remote working post-Covid, we're also hearing more concerns about whether someone is really focusing on the job while working from home.

In most cases, a worker doesn't choose to underperform. They want to do a good job. The reasons why they appear to be struggling are usually due to one of the following:

Manage up vs manage out

Recruiting is expensive. You invest a substantial amount of time & effort in finding a new hire, not to mention the time taken to help them ramp up plus any agency fees. Attrition can also be costly, as you are losing someone who may already be up-to-speed and have institutional knowledge you can't easily replace.

Therefore, if someone is not performing, it's well worth trying to see if you can "manage up" their performance, rather than manage them out of the door.

We can review the situation with you and provide constructive advice on how you can try to help the individual turn things around.

Performance dismissals

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, it will become clear that an individual is in the wrong job. If it turns out that there is a disciplinary or capability issue that cannot be resolved, then we can help you manage the dismissal process in a way that is fair and legally sound.

Capability dismissals

If someone simply can't do the job, then there is a capability procedure you can follow. This ensures that the barriers to performance are investigated and any relevant support options are explored. If that doesn't work, then provided you take the right steps and that there's no reasonable alternative, you will be able to dismiss.

Medical issues

There may be circumstances where an individual cites medical issues, e.g. a disability or other long term problem, as the reason they are struggling in the role. We can help you with arranging a review of their situation, occupational health referrals and exploring any reasonable adjustments that might help the individual back to an acceptable level of performance.

However, an employer is not obliged to employ someone who cannot do their job. If there are no reasonable adjustments available, then you can proceed to dismissal, provided you follow the correct process.

Disciplinary dismissals

In situations where an individual could perform but is unwilling to improve (a won't as opposed to a can't situation), then this is handled as a disciplinary matter. Usually, this is managed via a performance improvement plan or PIP.

A performance improvement plan is primarily focused on supporting the individual with improving and meeting expectations, i.e. it's intended as a "manage up" approach. A clear set of goals should be defined with a sufficient time period so that the individual has a fair chance to demonstrate an improvement. If they fail to do so, then you may be in a position to dismiss on the grounds of performance.

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