dealing with poor performance

Dealing swiftly with poor performance prevents a situation from escalating and gives the employee the chance to put the situation right. In most cases an informal conversation between the line manager and employee can address the issues and rectify poor performance.

It is important to make sure that training for line managers enables them to feel confident about having ‘difficult’ conversations. Ignoring a situation, or misleading the employee into thinking there isn’t a problem can lead to low morale as well as poor performance.

Fair Work Ombudsman’s website includes a useful section: ‘tips for having difficult conversations in the workplace’. 

fair procedures

Performance management and appraisal systems are important tools to address an underperforming employee, and should be used before embarking on any disciplinary procedures. Having written records of measurable targets, employee performance, and action points to improve performance demonstrate that the employer is fair and reasonable in their actions to address the issue. It gives the employee every opportunity to improve, before using disciplinary measures. See also ‘dealing with poor performance’ in chapter 8.

The Fair Works Ombudsman published an initial steps checklist to manage underperformance



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