Managing Employee Performance

managing employee performance

Managing Employee Performance

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Managing employee performance in the workplace.

managing employee performance

When it is noted that an employee is underperforming in their role, employers will need to consider how employee performance should be dealt with. Whether this is addressing the issue first or if the company has sufficient evidence beginning a disciplinary process may be necessary.

Our HR consultants can assist you from the beginning, helping your business to establish if the matter requires a disciplinary procedure, or capability procedure or helping to establish and identify the gaps in expectations versus employee performance. 

By outsourcing HR, you add an extra layer of protection to your business with guidance from experienced HR consultants. As by not identifying an employee performance issue as a capability issue, it may leave the business open for an unfair dismissal case

The disciplinary procedure for employee performance

A disciplinary procedure can be implemented if the employee in question has a negative attitude towards work or an ‘I can’t be bothered’ attitude in the workplace, it may deem as misconduct or an employee performance issue rather than a capability issue.

Employers can gain unlimited advice and support from our HR consultants through calls and emails when dealing with issues relating to employee performance, which may be tricky and cause difficult conversations in the workplace.

The capability procedure for employee performance

If the poor performance of the employee is related to either the physical or mental ability of the employee to carry out their duties to the standards required by the employer, then the capability procedure should be followed.

In some cases, the medical condition may fall within the definition of “disability” under the Equality Legislation. Therefore, there would be a requirement for the employer to consider reasonable adjustments to aid the employee in performing their role.

Reasonable adjustments include:

  • Reduction in working hours.
  • Provision of equipment.
  • Alternative work.
  • Changes to the employee’s place of work.

Establishing gaps in employee performance

Otherwise, it is essential to establish the gap between the standards required by the employer comparison to the standard of work being achieved by the employee performance.

Establishing the comparison of expectations versus employee performance should be done by the Company’s capability procedure. In all capability cases, consideration should be given to whether or not all has been done to assist the employee in achieving the required standards.

This should include training, mentoring, and any possible adjustments. It is however important for employers to remember that throughout the process where the Statutory Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure is not adhered to, any dismissal will be automatically unfair.

Unfair dismissal case: Employee Performance

Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR) were found to have unfairly dismissed David Barrow’s following a change in his behaviour due to steroid medication for Cancer.  The tribunal found that KBR had ‘dressed up’ his dismissal as a break in trust and confidence, this conclusion was made with ‘little difficulty’ by the tribunal following testimonies by key witnesses.

KBR had not recognised this behaviour as a disability, leading to Mr. Barrow’s being the subject of harassment relating to disability and unfavourable treatment leading to being found unfairly dismissed and awarded £2.5million.

Employers found to have fairly dismissed a ‘fatigued’ employee, Bah v London United Busways case in 2020 found that the employer had treated the case fairly and had conducted reasonable investigations into the incidents. 

Mr. Bah failed to fully stop the bus, resulting in a collision with another bus and following reviewing CCTV footage, it found that Mr. Bah looked to be fatigued.

Following further investigation and CCTV footage, London United Busways found 16 different situations where the employee looked not to be in full control of the bus. Following the investigation, the company dismissed Mr. Bah, due to the risk to public safety. 

Mr. Bah found his dismissal to be very harsh, however, the tribunal found that the employer had the right to dismiss Mr. Bah and he was not discriminated against.

Both cases highlight the requirements for full and unbiased investigations, employers, before dismissing an employee must feel they can stand up in tribunals and testify about their decisions with evidence.

Key Takeaways

  • Determine whether an employee’s underperformance is due to a lack of capability or a disciplinary issue, each requiring a different approach and procedure.
  • Implement disciplinary procedures for issues related to attitude or misconduct.
  • Follow capability procedures if performance issues are related to physical or mental abilities, and consider reasonable adjustments, especially in the context of disabilities.
  • Ensure that dismissals and performance management adhere to UK employment laws to avoid unfair dismissal cases, as illustrated by the contrasting outcomes in the KBR and Bah v London United Busways cases.
  • Conduct thorough and unbiased investigations, substantiating any dismissal with clear evidence to stand firm in potential legal challenges.
  • Ensure that all actions, especially dismissals, are backed by solid evidence and follow statutory disciplinary and dismissal procedures to avoid being deemed automatically unfair.
  • Be mindful of the potential for disability discrimination and ensure that all possible support and adjustments have been considered before moving towards dismissal.
  • Consider various adjustments for employees facing performance issues due to disabilities, such as reduced working hours, provision of equipment, alternative work, or changes to the work environment.
  • Ensure that the company has done everything possible to assist the employee in achieving the required standards, including training and mentoring, before considering dismissal.

How our HR consultants help your business

Our HR consultants can help guide you through a fair dismissal if its noted decreased employee performance or concerning behaviours, as well as indicate the potential risks if the company was to fire an employee. 

Speaking with external HR consultants can help in reducing the biasness towards the decision and bring clarity to whether the company has been following the correct procedures outlined in employment laws.

Contact HR consultants today for further guidance on managing poor performance.

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