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Managing performance issues

If an employee is not doing their job in line with their employer’s expectations this is a performance issue (sometimes called poor performance).

Very few employees would come to work wanting to be unsuccessful in their job. It can be soul destroying and stressful for employees if they can’t deliver in their job.

Establishing effective processes to grow and manage performance can have significant benefits for your organisation, as it can lead to happier, more motivated and better performing employees. It is worthwhile implementing, (or reviewing and updating) managing performance processes to support your organisation.

Employment agreements and workplace policies

Check the employment agreement and workplace policies before doing anything. Many employment agreements or workplace policies have a set process to follow when a performance issue is identified which you will need to follow. It will also be useful to read through this information.

A performance issue is where an employee:

  • fails to perform all, some or one of the duties of the position to the standards required; this can be issues of speed, quality, quantity or how they are delivering service
  • doesn’t comply with work rules or work procedures and may include negative and disruptive behaviour that impacts on co-workers. Note: This type of issue should not immediately be treated as misconduct when the employee is new to the workforce or to the work. In these situations, it is important to be sure that the employee is aware of the work rules and has been trained and understands the procedures which apply. Where the concern relates to a behavioural issue then make sure that the employee is aware of what the acceptable behaviour for the workplace is.

Having these systems are in place and well-understood can help employers to manage performance issues effectively in their organisations:

  • management of performance issues policy/process
  • using performance improvement plans
  • management training on offering constructive feedback and using performance tools
  • position descriptions
  • process for resolving problems.

Why manage performance issues

Managing performance issues proactively gives the employee an opportunity to be their best in the role and improve productivity.

Questions managers should ask themselves

When a manager identifies a performance issue they can use this information to help identify the performance issues, possible causes and actions before jumping to a conclusion.

How to manage performance issues

Ways to manage performance issues effectively and positively, using informal and formal processes.

When performance improves

If your employee improves their performance you still need to give them feedback and guidance in regular catch-ups and communications.

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