SUMMARY: Getting the best from its greatest asset, its staff, should be every organisation’s goal. This can be achieved using a combination of strategies including recruitment and retention; training and staff development, as well as performance management strategies.
We have produced a list of some simple dos and don’ts for dealing with the performance management of staff:
- DO take a proactive approach and seek to resolve performance management issues at an early stage. One way for achieving this is conducting regular meetings with staff at which performance management issues (as well as other general matters) can be raised informally.
- DO investigate why the employee’s performance is falling below the standard expected; for example, consider whether the employee is dealing with an increased workload or dealing with non-work related issues which are impacting on their performance. Always consider the employee’s explanation for performance issues and identify if other policies are triggered such as health management, stress management or bullying and harassment policies.
- DO make sure an employee is aware of the standard expected of them and give them a reasonable opportunity to meet those standards. Any goals set to underpin performance expectations should be SMART and supported by the provision of training and/or managerial support where appropriate.
- DO use probationary periods effectively and consider extending these periods if performance is an issue. Ensure that review meetings are scheduled at appropriate intervals throughout probationary periods.
- DO review your procedures and processes for managing poor performance on a regular basis to ensure they are in accordance with current case law and legislation.
- DON’T use the annual staff appraisal to address performance issues. Also ensure that, where performance is discussed as part of the staff member’s appraisal, it gives an accurate picture of their performance.
- DON’T forget to keep records of all discussions and correspondence relating to an employee’s performance – this includes both the informal and formal elements of the performance management process.
- DON’T confuse performance management policies and/or processes with other policies and/or processes such as sickness absence or disciplinary policies and processes. Check whether your organisation has a separate policy for performance management or take advice on which policy is adopted in these situations.
- DON’T forget that the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures applies to dismissals for poor performance. Failures to comply with the Code can result in uplifts to compensation being made where there is a failure to follow a fair procedure and the employee successfully claims unfair dismissal.
- Finally, DON’T be afraid of tackling poor performance but DO ensure your strategy for doing so is legally compliant.
If you would like more information on performance management, please contact:
+44 (0) 808 172 93 22
This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.
Updated: 21 June, 2016 by