Essential HR

When should you start to manage poor performance?

I read a legal case this morning that went before the Employment Relations Authority. An employee was dismissed after his employer received a customer complaint. The employee swore at this customer, who obviously was unhappy about this. The employer then went on to terminate the employee for her conduct.

The issue here, and the reason the Employment Relations Authority found in the employees’ favour, was simply because the employee had been using colourful language for years. The employer had never said anything, nor had any customers ever complained. The authority found that, had the employer warned her about this conduct and she had kept doing it, then they would have (having followed the correct process) been justified in their action.

This case cost the employer $4,000 in lost wages and $16,000 for hurt and humiliation. So, an expensive mistake to make.

The time to address poor performance is early – the first time you are aware of it. This way, the process is much easier for both parties, because there is little “history”. The employee will either pull their socks up and change their ways, hopefully respecting the way you manged the situation, or they won’t. And if they don’t, then you have started down the fair path to manage the poor performance.

If you are reading this and have a concern with an employee but don’t know where to start, it may be as simple as having a conversation with Mike or Beccy to help clarify your thoughts. Give us a call or click here to email us