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 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 performance management process to be followed. 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, acting employment law managing editor
Updated to include information on Agoreyo v London Borough of Lambeth, in which the High Court held that the suspension of a teacher was in breach of the implied term of trust and confidence.
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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.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to capability.