It is good to aim to be high performing, and to create an environment where staff are enabled to work to the best of their ability and are motivated to achieve. It is essential that there is a clear system of performance management so that employees are given an opportunity to receive regular feedback and where future training, development and career planning can be discussed. Where there are issues relating to an individual’s performance within the organisation it is crucial that these are raised at the earliest opportunity and employees are given all the support they need to develop.
This applies to all employees who have completed their probation period. Issues relating to poor performance for probationary employees will be dealt with in accordance with the probation policy. This policy does not cover situations relating to disability and long-term illness. Where indicated the measures identified in this policy may constitute part of the disciplinary procedure.
Informal Performance Improvement Plan Template
Probation Review Template
Annual Appraisal Form
One-to-one meetings are individual meetings between an employee their line manager to assess performance. One-to-one meetings should preferably be held on a fortnightly or monthly basis. These are important as they provide a regular opportunity to give feedback and resolve any working issues quickly. If there are any concerns about performance, then these should be raised at the one-to-ones – this should ensure that there are no surprises in the annual appraisal. Discussion about working hours, work/life balance and upward feedback should also be in included in one-to-ones.
All employees should have an annual performance appraisal. An appraisal is designed both to assist employees in their personal and professional development and to support the aims and objectives of the organisation in fulfilling its vision and mission. Employee appraisals are conducted each Autumn with line managers.
At the meeting, employees will discuss how their job relates to their job description (and this may result in updates of that document), areas for development and where other assistance may be provided. It is an opportunity to communicate in a way which may not be possible during usual working hours. At the meeting, both parties will agree goals for the upcoming year. Appraisal discussions are always considered confidential.
The mid-year appraisal builds on and leads up to the annual appraisal. It is a simpler/shorter review designed as a mid-year "check-in" to look at the previous six months and to plan objectives for the next six months. The mid-year appraisals are to be carried out in February.
The improving performance element to this policy provides a framework to manage employees who are underperforming in their roles and who fall short of required standards. The aim is to provide encouragement, training, guidance and support to employees and to help them achieve and maintain a satisfactory level of performance. It is recognised that action taken to redress poor performance should always follow informal efforts by managers and staff, to manage performance issues through use of appraisal, mid-year reviews and regular one-to-one meetings. It is the line manager’s responsibility to ensure that issues are dealt with in a prompt and timely way.
Employees should be advised by their line managers as soon as their performance falls below expected standards. It will be expected at this stage that the line manager will inform the employee of the standards required, reasons for any action taken and the implications of not achieving the improved performance. Individuals should also be informed of progress at all stages of the procedure.
Employees have a responsibility to achieve required levels of work performance and will be supported by their line manager to do so. The performance management cycle provides an opportunity for line managers to agree individual work objectives and provides a system within which these might be reviewed regularly. Within a normal working relationship, a line manager will discuss work performance alongside the performance management system so that areas of poor performance can be addressed as early as possible. Employees should have a job description outlining their responsibilities so that they are clear about their role. Any queries regarding job descriptions should be raised with a line manager as soon as possible. Any concerns about poor performance should also be raised within one-to-ones as soon as possible.
Before moving on to a Performance Improvement Plan, employees will be given the opportunity to deliver the required standards. Where the reason for poor performance is that employees do not have the required skills or knowledge then every reasonable effort will be made to help acquire them.
If it emerges that the cause of poor performance is as a result of an underlying medical condition, employees will be advised of appropriate healthcare support options. If it emerges that there are personal issues affecting work, then the employee will be directed to the appropriate pastoral or counselling services available.
Informal Performance Improvement Plan
Where there are still concerns about performance following informal discussions then more specific action will be taken. The management of poor performance falls into two stages – informal and formal. During the informal stage the line manager will meet with the employee to draw up an Informal Performance Plan. At this stage the HR department should be informed. The Informal Performance Plan should be a useful tool and a collaborative exercise between individuals and their line manager to find solutions to performance problems and set appropriate goals, used in conjunction with appraisals. A reasonable period of time, depending on the issue, will be agreed to demonstrate and sustain standards identified. Line managers must warn employees that where there is no improvement following the IPIP they will be liable to be issued with a formal disciplinary warning.
Reasonable adjustments in the work environment will be considered to help employees achieve the required standards of work performance. Where adjustments are agreed, the line manager must ensure these are implemented at the earliest opportunity.
Formal Performance Improvement Plan
Where it is felt, after any review meetings provided for, that improvements have still not been made or have been made and have not been sustained, then the HR department must become involved and a Formal Performance Review Meeting must be arranged. A formal disciplinary meeting will be held by a line manager alongside a member of the HR department. During a Formal Performance Meeting, both the line manager and the employee will create formal performance improvement plan and a reasonable time limit will be agreed for employees to demonstrate and sustain the standards identified.
Improvement after a formal performance meeting
If after a formal performance meeting, an employee has been able to achieve and maintain satisfactory standards of work, the line manager will advise the employee in writing that the procedure is no longer being applied and their record will be updated accordingly.
Continuing unsatisfactory performance
If a satisfactory standard has not been achieved and/or maintained after a formal performance meeting the employee will be informed in writing of the continuing circumstances of poor performance and Final Performance Review Meeting will be arranged. This meeting will be conducted by a head of department and member of the HR department and will consider seriously the actions required to bring an employee up to standard. If it is felt that no improvement has occurred, the disciplinary policy will be brought into effect.
Roles and responsibilities
Line managers should ensure that appropriate work standards are established and communicated. Employee performance should be assessed via open and honest dialogue. The HR department should be informed of any problems and any intention to refer to performance management or capability processes. Line managers should investigate unsatisfactory performance carefully, attempting to identify the cause and encourage or support the employee in working towards a solution. If it transpires that working conditions are not conducive to work performance, line managers must engage in conversations to modify these conditions where possible. Furthermore, line managers are required to inform the employee of possible implications of poor performance.