Performance Management

People are your greatest asset in any organisation, without them you can’t achieve success.  It is important to ensure that your employee’s know what is expected of them, by providing a job description, the right induction and training, and the appropriate tools to do the job, when they initially join you.

Regular appraisals are also a vital part of ensuring that your team continue to deliver on their objectives.  Providing the right environment, which is one of positive empowerment and engagement, creates the right environment for employee’s to flourish.

Unfortunately there are times when you have to performance manage someone due to their poor performance at work.

What is performance management?

Performance management isn’t just one approach, it can be a number of practices used to help monitor, and improve employee’s performance at work.  Communication is key, so regular reviews, and ways to provide feedback on performance is key.  Having open and honest 2 way conversations, helps to create the right positive environment.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself, about whether you have set the right standards and expectations for your team:

  • Have you set objectives? Are they realistic goals?
  • Have you communicated the company values, and standards of behaviour expected, via policies and company handbook?
  • What are the measures of performance for these objectives
  • Do the staff have the right skill sets to achieve these objectives, or do you need to upskill
  • Have you communicated these objectives to your team? Have you explained the ‘why’?  If people don’t understand why they need to achieve something, or behave in a certain way, then they don’t buy in to it.
  • How are you going to monitor performance, and provide feedback to your team on their performance?

 How do you manage under performance?

Managing an employee’s performance can be very time consuming, especially if someone’s work has suddenly declined.  They may be a really engaged and motivated employee, but their work performance just isn’t meeting the standard expected.  You have never had to deal with under performance before, so not sure what and how you should deal with it.  Where do you even start?  How do you have those difficult conversations?  There are so many different scenario’s when it comes to managing under performance, but there are processes that you should follow.

Firstly remember to keep things factual, don’t bring emotions in to any conversation.  It is about the actions of the employee, not the employee themselves.

  • Have an informal conversation with the employee to discuss your concerns. Ask them if anything has changed in their personal life, or medical reasons that may be affecting their work.  See what they have to say regarding your comments.  Keep a record of the conversation, and what was discussed.  Do they need any support or training to help them improve.
  • If there are improvements following the initial conversation, then the employee has accepted your feedback and is making an effort to improve.
  • If no improvements have been made then you may need to progress to the next stage of the process.
  • You could start with issuing a performance improvement plan, often called a PIP for short. This is a written document that you would compile together with the employee to discuss what actions or behaviour needs to improve, how it needs to improve, what support will be provided / or is requested by the employee, and when it needs to improve by.  Do you need to make any reasonable adjustments for any health related issues?  Keep the PIP factual, and ask the employee what support / training they require to be able to meet the standards expected.
  • Provide the relevant reasonable adjustments / support / training / coaching / mentoring to the employee
  • The objective of a PIP is to help the employee meet the standards expected of them.
  • Provide regular feedback to the employee on their performance
  • Follow any internal performance management procedures
  • If no improvement has been made within a reasonable amount of time, then proceed to an investigation meeting, which may result in it proceeding to a disciplinary meeting.

The above process is a general example of dealing with underperformance, prior to it reaching a formal disciplinary stage.  Every situation is different, and there are many different scenarios that can affect the process and how it should be dealt with.  Professional advice should be taken to understand your specific situation.

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