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Why having a separate performance improvement procedure will make your life easier

Performance Management Issues

When it comes to dealing with employee issues of performance it can be much harder to manage the process than straightforward misconduct issues, and as a result many business owners and managers I talk to just avoid it until the problem becomes completely unmanageable.

There are numerous reasons given for letting poor performance slide including:
•    fear of upsetting the person;
•    fear of them flying off the handle and/or being defensive;
•    concerns the employee will leave;
•    fear of a claim for constructive unfair dismissal;
•    lack of time to deal with it;
•    lack of knowledge as to how to deal with the issue;
•    lack of confidence.

Whatever the reasons my experience is that performance issues are rarely addressed in a timely or appropriate manner.

It is for these reasons that I recommend that you have a separate performance management procedure to your standard disciplinary procedure.

Your disciplinary procedure should be in line with the ACAS code of practice and be used to deal with conduct issues. Ideally you would then have a capability procedure for dealing with capability issues surrounding ill health and sickness absence, and a separate performance improvement policy.

As an employer or manager you are able to challenge staff who are not performing at the level you require and you should not be afraid to do so, but what you should do is follow a fair and reasonable process and communicate the issues to the employee in an appropriate way.

Having a performance improvement procedure will ensure that all the steps required of a manager or supervisor are set out, the employees understand what will happen and there is consistency across the business.

If the performance issue is extreme or there is no improvement having followed a fair process, you can legitimately dismiss an employee for a performance issue. In the event that an employee tried to make a claim for unfair dismissal you will have the documented reasonable process available to defend any claim.

In cases of capability dismissals, the Employment Tribunal will want to be satisfied that;

•    The employer honestly believed that the employee was not capable of their job;
•    The decision to dismiss was a reasonable one;
•    The employer undertook their own responsibilities in dealing with the employee, including coaching, training and setting realistic expectations.

You can be sure to fulfil each of these steps with a fair procedure in place.

If you would like help with your Policies, Procedure or Handbook please do not hesitate to contact me.

In addition to offering a fixed fee service for the work undertaken I also provide various levels of monthly HR & legal support services which include work on your handbook and procedures.

I would love to hear if you have any particular ways of dealing with capability and performance issues so please do get in touch. Equally if you would like some help with your policies I would be very happy to arrange a coffee chat to discuss. You can contact me by email or 01983 897003 / 023 8098 2006.

 Don’t forget getting advice from a Solicitor does not have to be complicated or costly!

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The information contained in this blog post is provided for guidance and is a snapshot of the law at the time it is written. It is provided for your information only and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice that it specific to your particular circumstances.

The guidance should not be relied upon in any decision making process. It is strongly recommended that you seek advice before taking action.

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