Monday, 11 April 2011

Tackle poor performers - no matter who they are

Shropshire employers must tackle staff who are under-performing - even if the culprit is a senior team member.

John Mehtam, who is our employment law specialist, said it was not just junior employees who could be guilty of failing to make the grade.

"Senior staff can perform poorly, and their actions can cost your company even more dearly than a junior member of the team who may not be working as hard as they should be.

"Your company cannot afford to employ anyone who is not pulling their weight, but most employers tend to focus on the poor performance of junior staff, when in fact it can also be a problem with managers and even fellow directors."

John said employers who suspected someone was performing below par should try to identify the root cause of the problem before taking any action.

"Don't rush into anything, because although the person's underperformance could be down to a lack of experience or the failure to delegate tasks effectively, it could also be due to other factors in the workplace. It could even be down to something they (and you) are unaware of altogether, such as a clash of personalities in their team."

John suggests employers should initially meet with the team member and informally raise their concerns.

"If you can identify issues, put in writing what improvements you want to see going forward and when you expect them to be made, and set a review date for a few weeks' time. But if things don't improve, you should consider disciplinary action if appropriate because managers are supposed to 'manage' and if they don't, you will be justified in taking the next step.

"You must make sure though that you've provided all the necessary support, including extra training, before you follow a disciplinary route, as otherwise your decision could be undermined."