Editor's message: Effective management of employee performance is key if your organisation is to function at the necessary level and remain competitive.
Day-to-day responsibility for ensuring that employees are performing to the required standard usually lies with line managers, and having managers who are confident and competent at managing capability issues is consistently identified through XpertHR surveys as one of the key factors in deterring underperformance. The aim for all HR departments should, therefore, be to ensure that their organisation's line managers are identifying capability issues early, generally through an ongoing informal performance management process, and removing any barriers to effective performance, such as a lack of training.
There will, however, be occasions where, despite support and guidance, employees fail to reach and sustain the required standard of performance, making it necessary for a formal management process to be followed. Again, it will be key to make the employee aware of the required standard and how he or she is failing to achieve it, to give the employee adequate time and support to achieve the necessary standard, and to make clear the possible consequences of a failure to do so. While no employer wants to have to dismiss on the grounds of capability, following these guidelines will keep the risk of a successful tribunal claim to a minimum.
Bar Huberman, employment law editor
Updated to include information on Holmes v Qinetiq Ltd, where the EAT considered whether or not the Acas code on disciplinary procedures applies to ill-health dismissals.
A model performance improvement or capability procedure, which provides for informal and formal performance management systems and an appeal process, and covers performance improvement plans.
A model letter inviting an employee to an informal meeting to discuss performance concerns.
A model letter to confirm what has been agreed following an informal discussion of performance concerns.
A model letter inviting an employee to attend a meeting where performance has not improved after initial feedback
HR and legal information and guidance relating to capability.