Posted by Helen Lucas, Solicitor
When to performance manage employees – and the cost of leaving it too late
It’s an all too familiar situation which many employers find themselves in. There’s an employee who hasn’t been performing for some time, they haven’t done anything drastically wrong, but they just aren’t up to scratch. The employer feels too uncomfortable to say anything – perhaps they are a long standing employee, a good friend or a difficult character. Or, the employer simply doesn’t find the time to address the situation and keeps putting it off. This goes on for a while until the employer decides enough is enough and dismisses the employee for poor performance.
What’s the problem?
In order to dismiss an employee fairly, an employer must:
• have a fair reason for dismissing the employee, and
• show they have followed a fair process in dismissing the employee.
The employer needs to be sure that there isn’t an underlying reason for the employee’s poor performance – could the employee have an underlying health complaint or are they being treated badly by their manager?
How can an employer be sure that the employee’s performance isn’t good enough? Have they followed a fair process? Has the employer:
• followed a disciplinary or capability process and issued formal warnings?
• set the employee realistic targets and given them the chance to improve?
• given the employee the right of appeal against the disciplinary decisions?
What if the issues are not tackled properly?
One employee who is unfairly dismissed may have a claim in the tribunal for a maximum of:
Basic award £14,250
Compensatory award £78,962 (or one year’s gross pay, whichever is lower)
Breach of contract (if notice of dismissal is not given) £25,000
If it’s not tackled at all, it’s hard to put a true cost on poor performance, lack of morale, motivation and respect for management, but it obviously has a detrimental effect to the business.
Effective performance management is therefore vital; not only to avoid a costly unfair dismissal claim, but to ensure there is no knock on effect of the poor performance to the employer’s business.
Learn more about how to deal with performance management effectively, our Swindon HR Training workshop ‘Managing Performance’ on 23 May will be an opportunity to discuss this, and other related issues.
This is the third in a series of 5 workshops which provide training on the lifecycle of the employment relationship.
See our Employment & HR courses here.
For more information, contact Helen or another member of the Employment & HR team
01225 730 208 Email us
Employment & HR
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