Employment and Migration Blog

Performance management cheat sheet

Posted by Anna Ford on 17 Nov 2016

At Coleman Greig we work with clients on a daily basis in relation to the performance management of their employees, and it’s clear to me that for many of them, engaging in the process is a notoriously daunting task!

In many instances the task is perceived as “daunting” as a result of the following negative connotations which are typically associated with the process:

  • it’s complex;
  • it’s time consuming;
  • it’s often met with backlash;
  • the items for discussion can be difficult to articulate/explain/provide examples of. 

To overcome some of these perceptions it’s important to put the need to performance manage an employee in perspective, and to start the process with the following points in mind: 

  • it may be hard but it’s necessary (if you aren’t happy with the way an employee is performing their role then it’s to everyone’s benefit to make sure that the requirements and expectations of the role are clear on both sides – otherwise how does your employee know that they aren’t meeting your standards/doing a good job?);
  • it’s not always going to lead to termination of the person’s employment – and that point should be made clear through the language you use, and the way in which the plan is packaged and presented to the employee 
  • it’s a process not an event, and it should be attended to promptly
  • it’s a skill that requires training (and at times professional assistance); and,
  • it should happen routinely and consistently across the business.

The basic steps in the process include:

  1. What standard do you expect? Communicate it!
  2. What are your concerns? Communicate them! 
  3. Set a time frame for improvement. Communicate it!
  4. Monitor what’s happening moving forward (including scheduling in advance follow up meeting/s).

What happens if I short cut the process?

  • Your employee is going to have difficultly achieving the standard expected;
  • The end result is more likely to be the termination of the relevant person’s employment (which means you’ll need to find a replacement and you’ll probably be up for additional recruitment and training costs); and, 
  • There is a greater chance that the employee will make an unfair dismissal or adverse action claim (and it’s likely to be harder for you to combat/defend).

Where do I go for more information?

Make an appointment with our Employment Law team in Parramatta and Norwest: