As featured in the Yorkshire Post, our employment team offers advice on ways of improving staff performance.
1. Hold regular appraisals
This is the best way to nip any performance issues in the bud. Appraisals should always be honest; unjustified praise will do more harm than good in the long-term, as will criticism that is not constructive.
2. Address issues early
We often find that managers and supervisors do not deal with issues until they have escalated into bigger problems and they want the individual “out of the business”. As a fair performance management process can take weeks or months, it is better to address issues early.
3. Keep up to date records
Ensure that each time a concern is raised with an employee, even if it is raised informally, a note is kept for a reasonable period of time. Also ensure that the expected standards of performance are documented so that you can rely on the documents if you need to at a later date.
4. Check that the issue is capability rather than misconduct
Consider whether the employee is deliberately underperforming because they are choosing to do so, which is misconduct. Misconduct should be dealt with under a disciplinary procedure.
5. Check whether the poor performance is due to ill health or inability to do the job
If the person has a long-term condition which substantially affects their day to day activities and performance at work, they may be disabled. Their performance can still be managed, it just needs extra care as employers have additional obligations in respect of disabled employees.
6. Hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the issue
It is important to allow the employee an opportunity to explain the reasons for their poor performance. If the conclusion of the meeting could be a warning or other type of sanction, you must allow the employee to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative.
7. Set clear targets and a reasonable time for improvement
The clearer the targets are and the more reasonable the timescale for improvement, the easier it is to monitor and assess whether they have been met and to act in the event that they have not.
8. Provide appropriate support and/or training
It might be that help from someone more experienced or further training is all that is required for the performance to improve. If things do not improve, a Tribunal will expect to see that help has been offered or provided.
9. If ill health is the issue, consider an occupational health referral
This will enable you to determine the extent to which the employee’s condition affects their performance, whether there is anything that you or the employee can do to help improve their performance and what their prognosis is.
10. If the process ends in dismissal, always dismiss with notice or pay in lieu of notice and offer a right of appeal
Before dismissing you should also consider whether you have any vacancies that might be suitable for the employee.
Disclaimer: Anything posted on this blog is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any general or specific matter. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. Please contact the author of the blog if you would like to discuss the issues raised.