Hiring the ideal person for the job can be easy, but dealing with that individual when they fail to perform as expected can be problematic.
On paper and in an interview a job candidate can shine. The true test of that individual’s ability will come when they actually have to do the job.
There will inevitably be occasions where the new recruit fails to live up to expectations, and appears not to be up to the task.
Addressing such matters is an opportunity to highlight and discuss any management concerns. It can also be used to identify and provide any necessary support or training required.
The most effective way of dealing with an underperforming employee is by having an established and recognised performance management plan (1)
The aim of the policy should be to evaluate and ensure the worker is performing to a satisfactory level and carrying out their duties to the required standard.
Many workers fear performance management plans and view them with trepidation and scepticism. They are widely considered as the first step by management in a move to force an individual out of an organisation.
However, a good policy designed to fairly review, evaluate and assess workplace accomplishment can help to align the workforce, build competencies, and improve performance and development, which in turn can produce better results for the employer.
There are a number of elements to an effective performance management plan, which include:
Crucial factors in managing performance are ensuring that clear standards are set and communicated, providing regular and constructive feedback and taking corrective action where necessary.
Despite an employer’s best intentions, will and effort it is not always the case that the problem will go away.
Establishing and identifying the cause of poor work performance is important. It is dangerous to simply assume it is a result of laziness, negligence or lack of effort. However, it is worth acknowledging that there will no doubt be occasions where this is in fact the case.
Getting to the bottom of the problem resulting in the poor performance should make it clear what action is needed to correct it. Being able to eliminate the cause of the problem should allow the worker to perform to the expected standard.
Underperformance can sometimes be as a result of poor health or a hidden disability (2), which is why it is always crucial to get to the root cause of any problem. While a physical disability may be visible, hidden disabilities such as chronic pain or a mental illness is not as obvious.
The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a mental or physical impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long term’ effect on a person’s ability to do normal daily activities (3).
If performance managing a worker with a disability; reasonable adjustments (4) should be made to allow that individual to improve their performance. A failure to do so could result in a disabled worker making a claim for disability discrimination to an employment tribunal.
Good performance management should make sure that all workers are clear about the following:
It is important to ensure that managers and supervisors are fully trained and knowledgeable about the performance management process (5) as applying it correctly can boost profits and help an organisation achieve its goals.