One of the most common issues faced by employers is that of an underperforming employee. Unfortunately this is also one of the most common issues which results in successful claims against employers for either unfair dismissal or bullying and harassment.
There are a lot of myths surrounding performance management, such as that you require three warnings before dismissing an employee or that you must stop performance management processes if the employee claims they are being bullied or harassed.
The truth is that a performance management process does not need to be difficult or confrontational. What is required is that during the performance management you:
- Make it clear to the employee that they are underperforming – giving a clear indication of what level of performance is required
- Give the employee a reasonable opportunity to improve their performance;
- Offer the employee additional assistance or training where appropriate to help them improve their performance; and,
- Make it clear from the start of the process that if the employee fails to improve as required, they may be dismissed.
Throughout a performance management process, it is common for employees to claim they have been bullied and harassed or for the employee to make a ‘stress claim’ through worker’s compensation. Just because this occurs, does not mean the process needs to be abandoned, it just means that additional management will be required to continue the performance management process effectively without providing the employee to make a successful claim against the business.
The easiest way to create an effective and safe performance management process is to use a formal performance management plan and follow a proper process to implement and review this plan. The workplace relations team has designed a performance management plan, complete with all relevant documents you need in your business to execute this effectively.
If you would like assistance with performance management, please contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations team by clicking here for assistance or call us on 8291 2000.