Dismissal is a tense time for everyone involved, particularly the employee who is now facing financial hardship. It is therefore vital for you, the employer, to handle this situation appropriately. This means everything from ensuring your procedures are fair, to making sure you handle the conversation with the appropriate care and sensitivity.
We have come up with a list of tips and procedures to help you manage the dismissal of staff when they are under performing.
Make sure the process is fair
This is the most important thing you need to think about when it comes to dismissing your staff. If your procedure or selection process appears in anyway unfair then you could open yourself up to liability from an unfair dismissal claim. This could mean fairness in the selection criteria, for example did you pick that person because of a protected characteristic like race, religion or gender. Additionally, it could mean fairness in your procedure, for example has your employee been warned of their poor performance, have they been given enough time to remedy the situation.
Collect evidence and keep records
Transparency in this process is key. Make sure you keep records of anyone who is exhibiting poor performance. Be ready to explain why the employee is under performing, the evidence you have to show the poor performance, and the support you have in place to assist them.
Think about keeping a file for each employee whose performance is under question. You can add to the file as the situation develops and add to it as you go along.
Follow a prescribed process
You should establish a process in which you deal with all poor performance issues. This should be written down somewhere and employees aware of it. When your employee’s poor performance is first brought to your attention you should start by giving them a warning. If things do not improve over a prescribed time frame you should issue a final warning. If there is still no improvement call your employee in for a disciplinary hearing. Make sure to give your employee advanced notice so they have time to prepare and arrange representation.
A common area that results in a loss at the tribunal is when companies don’t follow their own procedures. It is important that you give your employees enough time to improve their performance and look for ways to support them in improving their performance. This will go a long way in proving to a tribunal that you acted fairly.
Be assertive but compassionate
At the end of the day it is your business and you are paying their wages. It makes no sense for you to pay the wages for someone who is not performing as you need them to. However, on the other side this person is facing unemployment and the potential financial hardship that come with that. Be mindful of their situation and your own. You need to be able to show to the tribunal that you wanted your employee to succeed in the role and tried to help them, but the business must come first and you were no longer able to keep them on.