Managing capability issues at work can be a daunting task for employers. In this article, I’d like to provide you with a simple guide on the requirements of the law and best practices to solve any such issues you have.
Step 1 – Diagnose the problem
Before you fix any poor performance, you have to understand the root cause of it. This could be poor morale, low engagement levels, company culture, management styles, and etc. Employers are advised to diagnose the problem and address them with strategic initiatives before pin-pointing poor performance on employees.
Step 2 – Warn the Employee
Employees who are rated as ‘poor’ should be given a warning, preferably in written form. Warnings need not be harsh – it could be as simple as summarising an email upon having a performance based discussion with the employee. Before embarking on this session, employers should equip themselves with the following:
- Job description, objective sheet, KPIs that was previously discussed / signed off by employee;
- List of shortfalls – backed up with facts and figures;
- List of expectations;
- Expected timelines for improvement.
Step 3 – Provide the employee with opportunities to improve
The law requires an employee to be given sufficient opportunities to improve. Ideally, employees should be placed on an improvement plan. The objective here is for the employer to support the employee to become a better employee. As a general practice, improvement plans should last for at least 3 months or more.
An important tip here is to have the improvement plan monitored and tracked throughout the period. If counselling sessions are planned, it is advisable if minutes are prepared.
Step 4 – Impose actions
If, despite the above the employee fails to improve his / her performance, the company can impose actions which may range from formal warning letter right up to dismissal. This should depend on the seriousness and impact of the poor performance. If employees are given a punishment lesser than that of dismissal, it is important to point out that any repetition of the above would lead to harsher punishments, including dismissal.