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Performance management

Underperforming employees can either be a case of can’t cook or won’t cook. If they can perform but won’t, you may need to go down the disciplinary route; if they can’t perform, you’re dealing with a performance management issue.

Managing poor performance can be a lengthy process, as you cannot dismiss somebody straightaway. If you don’t have the time or expertise, our Employment Law and HR specialists can help.

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Take the pressure out of performance management

When it comes to performance management, the onus is on the employer to help an employee improve. This means putting a plan in place, setting clear targets and providing support to help them get where they need to be. This is a large undertaking for time-poor managers.

With our fixed-fee Employment Law and HR support, you can offload this burden with help from highly-qualified professionals.

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Engaged employees, working towards collective company goals

Performance management is essential to meeting organisational goals effectively and efficiently. Without the competence to manage this process correctly, your workforce won’t reach its full potential and, worse, you may even end up with bigger issues such as grievances and even Employment Tribunal claims – if, for example, you use redundancy as a way to ‘manage out’ unwanted staff. These situations can also weigh heavily on managers, inviting difficult conversations and potential conflict.

As well as step-by-step guidance through the process, we’ll help you to gather and review evidence to prevent any suggestion that you haven’t provided clear objectives and the right support. Reduced risk, better organisational results.

Popular FAQs

Common performance management queries and questions about our service, answered by our Employment Law and HR specialists.

What is performance management?

Performance management is the process by which the employer and employee work together with the aim of improving the performance of employees so that they can meet their objectives. If the necessary performance improvements cannot be made, then it is possible to issue warnings and eventually dismiss an employee on grounds of poor performance.

What is the performance management process?

Often a performance management process will start off informally with a manager encouraging or setting out what improvements an employee needs to make in a meeting or by email. If those informal methods are unsuccessful, the next step is usually the production of a formal performance improvement plan (PIP), which will set objectives for the employee, timescales for improvement, and the methods the employer will use to help the employee meet these goals. If an employee fails to meet a PIP, often a formal process will follow, which could result in a warning being issued.

What are performance management techniques?

Communication is key to any performance management process. You need to set clear, measurable objectives and timeframes to achieve those. The exact techniques beyond that will depend on the nature of the underperformance but often trying to make improvements will involve training or shadowing colleagues. It’s also important to provide full 360 feedback even outside of formal performance appraisals.

How can I use benchmarks in managing performance?

Benchmarks are often used to compare the performance of one employee against another. In practice this can sometimes be difficult, especially if the quality or quantity of work produced is difficult to measure. However, it is important to try and treat all employees equally, so a performance management process should only be used against someone who is demonstrably underperforming. Often that can only be done by comparing them to their colleagues in similar roles.

What is the best performance management framework?

This can vary from business to business but it’s important that any performance management process sets SMART objectives – those that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Around your SMART objectives, you can build a performance improvement plan which will set out the objectives and when they need to be achieved by. The PIP will also detail the support the employer will give to the employee to help them meet their objectives, as well as the potential consequences for not doing so. Most Employee Handbooks will also set out a performance management procedure for dealing with issues like this.

What are the best ways to manage poor performance?

By being brave and tackling the issues, setting SMART objectives that are monitored by the use of a PIP and, if all that fails, using a formal process to issue warnings for poor performance.

Why is performance management important?

Proper performance management helps to increase employee engagement and productivity. It should also help align employees to your strategic objectives. Monitoring of performance also helps to spot early signs of performance problems, allowing your managers to stay ahead of the curve in that regard.

What are the benefits of performance management?

There are several benefits of performance management. It can highlight the need for training and help you to better understand the skills of your employees. It helps with your workforce planning and, in particular, can help you to spot talent. It can also boost morale and, in turn, increase employee retention.

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