Performance issues in the workplace, whether capability or conduct, will have an impact in the workplace in terms of: the team morale, productivity, disruption, poor customer service, which in turn is a cost to the business. For these reasons an employee who is consistently underperforming can obviously be harmful to a business, as well as using up vital management time and resources.
In many cases an employer isn’t left with any option other than to dismiss an employee for their inadequate performance. Luckily, by following the correct procedures, dealing with poor performance shouldn’t be too strenuous.
Before making the decision of dismissing an employee, seeing the employee improve their performance should be main priority. It is vital to give the employee enough support and time to allow them to make these improvements. If this outcome is still bleak, the employer then has no other option than to dismiss the individual.
Let the employee know that you are commencing the formal disciplinary process (or capability process if you have a separate process) and give them a copy of it for reference.
It is vitally important that the employee is informed of their rights and is allowed to bring a work colleague or trade union representative to all meetings held under the formal procedure.
At each stage of the procedure, you should write to the employee and explain that their performance is considered to be below the required standard and why. Make it clear that this letter is part of the formal disciplinary procedure (and which stage it is at) and invite the employee to attend a meeting to discuss it. The employer must also explain what the potential consequences are i.e. a formal warning or dismissal.
At any formal meeting, give the employee an opportunity to respond to the issues. You can also collaboratively explore ways to help the employee improve their performance and try to agree some targets and time scales. Keep a written record of the meeting and give a copy of this to the employee.
If, following the meeting, a formal warning is given, remember to include the fact that your employee has a right to appeal against the decision.
Unfortunately, there will be situations where the employee fails to improve their performance either enough or at all. If, at this stage, you consider the only option is dismissal, you need to invite the employee to a meeting to discuss their dismissal. Explain in writing in advance the purpose of the meeting and the possible outcome, reiterate the performance issues and remind your employee that they have a right to bring someone to the meeting with them.
Ideally, the decision to dismiss an employee will be given face to face with reasons identified and explained. Following this, the employee should be given a copy of the decision and reasons for it in writing, along with notifying the employee of their right of appeal.
Don’t forget to state whether the employee is being dismissed on notice or with payment in lieu of notice.