The challenge most organizations face is handling employees that underperform, whether they have always been that way or there has been a recent change. In most cases, their annual performance reviews say that they are meeting expectations and there is little if any indication of a concern. In that case, your options will be limited, as there is no basis to consider summary dismissal.
The worst thing you can do in any of these situations is to let the matter slide, which is unfortunately what many organizations do. That is due, at least in part, to the fact that many supervisors and managers are not trained in having difficult conversations and providing negative feedback.
The fundamental basis of the employment agreement is that the employee will work, and the employer will pay them. However, there is also an expectation that they will do their work properly and at an appropriate level. That is true regardless of whether they are making widgets on a construction line or directing a multinational company.
Many people are surprised to learn that
- Poor performance can be just cause for dismissal in some circumstances; and
- If just cause does not exist, then an employee’s poor performance is irrelevant when assessing their severance entitlement.
As a result, handling the matter properly and strategically is extremely important. Letting it go will simply mean that the employee will continue to accrue seniority that will increase their severance entitlement if and when you decide to let them go, and there will be no credible basis for summary dismissal.
How we can help with Employee Performance Management
Strategic planning and management training are critical. We work with clients to ensure that they have proper policies and procedures in place to address performance concerns and that their supervisors and managers are trained on how to provide positive and negative feedback to their staff and document concerns.
Where appropriate, we help them implement Performance Improvement Plans. The goal should not be to “build a file for termination”; it should be to work with the employee to help them understand the expectations and then adjust their performance accordingly. But, if the employee is given a fair chance and still refuses or fails to meet reasonable expectations, then we can move on to the next phase: dismissal.
With the right tools in place, we can then help you to navigate any issue that arises and impose performance management processes properly.
We want to be your Trusted Advisor, your Chief HR Law Officer, your business partner. Let us be part of your team, so that we can look after your employment law issues, and you can focus on your business.