Questions on minimum wages for your workers? Check out this video from Fairwork Australia
Do you have an employee that is underperforming? This is how you get them to reach their potential!
Identify the problem
How is the employee underperforming? How long has it been happening? Why are they not reaching their goals? This has to be specific and based on their work performance
. If you make it personal, you're leaving yourself open to legal action.
Write down everything
If you don’t write it down, it can be argued that it didn’t happen. Keep emails, write down conversations (make sure to include the date!) and keep copies/take photos of examples of work that your employee needs to improve upon.
Meet with the employee
Give the employee a heads up about why you want to meet with them so they have a chance to prepare, just like you have. Make sure the meeting is in a private space away from other employees.
Tips for this meeting:
- Outline what is required for the role, and where the shortfalls are.
- Remember: talk about the issue, not the person.
- Ask what is causing the issue (e.g. personal reasons, confused about role).
- Clarify with the employee, reiterate what they’ve just said to you so they know you’ve understood.
Come up with a solution
Work together to figure out how you can best solve the problem e.g. more training or guidance, less work allocated to the employee etc. Give tips and provide ongoing feedback.
Document a clear performance plan
Again: document everything. Set out a very clear performance plan with specific goals, realistic dates to achieve them, and how you’ll help the employee get there. Have your employee sign off on it as well, they need to be in the know.
Click here for a performance improvement template
Give continual feedback and set up a meeting down the track to check back in. If performance hasn’t improved, you might need to take more serious action like counselling or formal warnings. Give your employee any formal warnings in writing, and state that they risk being dismissed if there is no improvement in performance.
Click here for a formal warning template
This should be an absolute last resort. There are two types of dismissals: summary and ‘other’.
- Summary dismissal
When you dismiss an employee without notice or warning. This can only be done if there is some serious misconduct (i.e. theft, fraud, violence or serious safety breaches). Summary dismissals are quite rare.
- Other dismissal
When you have to give a valid reason why your worker is being dismissed, i.e. the reason must be based on the employee’s conduct or ability to do their job.
Here we're focusing on 'other' dismissals. You need to be confident you have done everything in your power to retain your employee. Performance-based terminations should never come as a surprise to the worker.
Here is a letter of termination template
Know your employees’ rights
Provide the employee with their entitlements such as their notice of termination and any annual leave that they have accrued.
Know your rights and responsibilities
Employers with less than 15 staff are covered by special dismissal arrangements. You need to strictly follow the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code
. Follow the code then fill out the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code Checklist.
Keep the Checklist with your records, it will help you if an employee makes an unfair dismissal claim.
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