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 whether they are making widgets on a construction line or directing a multi-national company.
What do you do when an employee is not meeting expectations? The worst thing you can do is to let it 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.
What often happens is that we get a call from a client that is fed up with the poorly-performing employee, and they have reached the point where they want them gone. That is when they come us and ask if they can fire the employee for cause. Of course, the first thing we ask for is the employee’s file. In most cases, we find that the file contains annual reviews indicating that the employee is meeting expectations or otherwise performing at an average level, and absolutely no indication of any performance concerns.
Strategic planning and management training are critical. We work with clients to ensure that they have proper policies 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.