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Policies, Procedures & SafeguardsJune 1, 2018
It’s one of the hardest aspects of supervising staff or running a business: managing an employee’s poor performance. It’s a common headache for many employers that can strain personal and professional relationships while impacting the smooth operations of the business.
There are right and wrong ways to address poor performance, and things can go wrong if not handled with care and respect to an individual’s unique circumstances. Fortunately, there are steps employers can take to manage the situation without impacting the working relationship.
Regular performance reviews can assist in identifying any issues before they become larger and it is recommended employers deal with poor performance quickly, as the problem does not usually solve itself. Depending on the type of performance issue, this can be done in an informal or formal manner.
Poor performance or underperformance is a person’s inability to do their job and failing to meet the standards required of the company. Poor performance can manifest in the workplace in a number of ways, such as:
Some of these contributing factors fall on the responsibility of the employee. However, it is important to not assume an employee is intentionally underperforming, but instead find out why the employee is underperforming. Many cases of poor performance are unintentional. Sometimes an employee will be unaware they are underperforming and won’t change unless they are told otherwise.
Many cases of poor performance come from a simple misunderstanding or lack of ability to satisfy the assigned role or position. Some cases are more complex and require a tailored approach to manage the situation.
Some of the most common reasons for poor work performance include:
When it comes to new employees who are underperforming, they might not fully understand the job description and performance expectations. In this case, extra guidance and support will help ease them into their role. If an employee is a long-term member who has performed well in the past, there could also be a deeper underlying issue needing to be addressed.
Managing poor performance can be done through an informal or formal process. Depending on the type of performance and scale of the problem, one method may be more effective than the other.
Not all cases of poor work performance need a structured process. Sometimes informal intervention is the quickest and most effective way to resolve minor issues. This may include:
A Performance Improvement Plan is designed to give employees the support they need to improve their skills over a reasonable period of time. By encouraging an open dialogue and constructive feedback, both parties can work together to identify the key issues and work towards improving performance.
If the PIP proves to be unsuccessful, there are a range of options that an employer may have open to them, depending on the circumstances. By mutual agreement, an employer may be able to transfer or demote the employee into a role more suited to their ability, or decide to terminate their employment entirely in accordance with correct procedure. In any case, an employer should be sure to follow the correct process and keep a record of all relevant information to avoid any chances of a claim against the business (for example, an unfair dismissal claim).
Managing an employee’s poor performance is a tricky and often difficult task for managers and business owners. If you need support, advice or guidance in managing an underperforming employee or want to know your obligations, call an Employsure adviser on 1300 651 415 for a confidential discussion.