When it comes to Managing poor performance, specifically disciplinary procedures is an area we know that many employers shy away from.
It’s not an easy thing to deal with, there is a concern that it makes everyone else feel uncomfortable particularly if it is small team, and perhaps the biggest worry of all is getting it wrong & landing up in a costly employment tribunal. We’ll let you in to a few secrets we’ve discovered in the last 25 years….
Firstly, bar dealing with the very rare occurrence of an employee who gets into a fight, steals from you or does something equally heinous, dealing with poor performance is usually only a hard thing to do if things have been allowed to slide until they feel unsolvable. Your first step in performance management is to help your employees get it right with training, guidance, support and encouragement. If that doesn’t have the desired effect and you progress to a more disciplinary approach there shouldn’t be any surprises for anyone as you’ve already been having the right conversations.
Secondly, if performance is so low or if an employee commits acts of misconduct such that you decide to take a formal disciplinary route, whilst these are not easy meetings to have, we can assure that other employees rarely feel uncomfortable, and in fact they are pleased that the person who isn’t pulling their weight or who is behaving badly is “being dealt with”.
And finally if you have a clearly documented policy and you then follow a robust, transparent and legally compliant procedure resulting in you making fair and reasonable decisions, you are highly unlikely to find yourself facing tribunal claims, and even if you did you would be able to successfully defend your position.
So here are our top tips for managing performance successfully:
Have clear guidelines for employees about their job role, tasks and responsibilities
- Ensure employees have the necessary skills, knowledge and resources to carry out their job effectively
- Establish guidelines or company rules that set out your expectations for conduct and performance
- Meet employees regularly to review performance and give feedback
- Reward a job well done or progress made – a simple “thank you” or “well done” is often enough
- Tackle problems or issues as soon as they appear – minor concerns can be dealt with informally and quickly before they become a real problem
- Have a formal review or appraisal at least annually to set targets and ensure employees know how their job fits into the bigger picture
- Encourage a culture of continuous improvement and where everyone is taking responsibility for their actions
- Have a robust disciplinary policy and procedure to deal with situations that require a more formal approach
- Train any managers who will be using the disciplinary procedure to ensure they do so legally
- If you are unsure about the correct course of action take advice from an HR advisor or solicitor