You want to be the best in your industry and stay competitive. The best way to do this is making sure all your employees are performing at their best, and being quick to address times or situations where people aren’t doing well. By staying on top of how well your employees are working you’ll be staying on top of the performance of your business as a whole.

Why Performance Appraisals?

As with every area of life, consistency is key to achieving great results. Build regular performance appraisals into the fabric and culture of your business. Make sure you take time to praise employees who are doing well, as this not only creates a healthy and harmonious workplace but gives you a firm platform to address things that need to change.

By having regular performance appraisals you’re more likely to pick up problems such as employee dissatisfaction or any personal problems that may affect their work before they become a serious issue. Keeping accurately recorded records of performance reviews can also help you defend yourself in the future if problems escalate.

Poor performance

If you’re noticing an employee falling below standard it’s important to address it early. Poor performance from employees can have a negative effect on business, whether its unhappy clients, increased staff turnover or decreased productivity. Talk to your employee in a neutral environment, and set out clearly how you expect them to improve, with measurable targets if possible.

Fair Work Australia has identified the following steps as the most useful strategy for dealing with an underperforming employee:

1. Identify the problem

It is important to understand the key drivers of performance or underperformance within the workforce. It is also important to correctly and specifically identify the problem.

2. Assess and analyse the problem

The employer should determine:

  • how serious the problem is
  • how long the problem has existed, and
  • how wide the gap is between what is expected and what is being delivered.

Once the problem has been identified and assessed, the employer should organise a meeting with the employee to discuss the problem.

The employer should let the employee know the purpose of the meeting in advance so they can adequately prepare for the meeting. The employee should be allowed to bring a support person of their choice or a union representative to the meeting. Employers working at best practice will inform the employee that they can bring a support person as a matter of process.

3. Meet with the employee to discuss the problem

It is important that the meeting takes place in private and in an environment that is comfortable and non-threatening, away from distractions and interruptions.

The employer should begin by holding a discussion with the employee to explain the problem in specific terms. From this conversation, the employee should be able to clearly understand:

  • what the problem is
  • why it is a problem
  • how it impacts on the workplace, and
  • why there is a concern.
  • The employer should discuss the outcomes they wish to achieve from the meeting.

The meeting should be an open discussion and the employee should have an opportunity to have their point of view heard and duly considered. The employer should listen to the explanation of why the problem has occurred or to any other comments the employee makes.

As with any meeting of this nature it’s important to keep accurate records, which could be crucial if you ever face a tribunal situation or an unfair dismissal claim.

Tomorrow we’ll be looking at the more serious end of bad behaviour—misconduct, serious misconduct, and what to do when it happens in your business.

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