BlandsLaw - Blog posts from performance management
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Managing performance issues through informal methods

In certain situations, letting go of underperforming employees can be difficult, particularly when you have bent over backwards trying to help them correct poor conduct or performance. However, there comes a time when it is obvious the employment relationship is no longer viable, especially when the employee’s attitude indicates they have no desire to improve.

In a recent case before the FWC, it was found that there can be exceptions to the usual requirement to follow a formal performance management process when dealing with underperforming staff. Ongoing informal approaches may be utilised, but it must be shown that the employer made continued efforts to communicate the worker’s performance shortfalls and provided assistance in achieving expectations. In this case, the employee was dismissed after his employer dedicated 10 months to daily coaching, training and support as part of an informal performance management process.  According to his supervisor, the employee received far more one-on-one time than any other employee. During these discussions the employee nodded his head to signal he understood what

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Managing internet and email use in the workplace

The benefits of internet and email use in the workplace are undeniable; not does communication happen at the click of a button, but information can be sourced instantaneously meaning tasks can be completed quickly and efficiently. Having said that, employees do not have free reign to surf the web as they please, and restrictions should be in place to prevent employees overusing these services for non-work related activities.

In a recent case before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission[1], an employee was dismissed for breaching her employer’s code of conduct and communications policy when she stored 1200 inappropriate and pornographic emails in a "funny emails" folder. The investigation found that the folder contained emails which were “considered pornographic, graphic (violence), and generally inappropriate in nature”. A non-work-related, 23-page personal journal was also found, which breached the policy's personal use clause and ‘encroached on work time’.  

The employee adopted a ‘cavalier attitude’ towards the situation and attempted to contend that the employer’s IT system should have prevented unwelcome and

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Tips for managing underperforming staff

If you’re an employer who is concerned about the underperformance of your employees, there is a huge amount of guidance that you can turn to when in doubt. The techniques of a Chinese motivational trainer who beat eight underperforming employees with a stick, shaved the heads of the men and who cut the hair of the women is definitely not the way to go. On a training weekend, the lowest ranking staff were bought up on stage and publically humiliated when the trainer demanded explanations for their underperformance. He then continued to beat the staff, a training model he says he has “explored for many years”. The whole event was captured on video and circulated on social media worldwide, drawing heavy attention and criticism. One user commented “Since when does beating employees become a way of raising performance?’, and we couldn’t agree more.

We are frequently asked how underperformance should be managed or disciplined. Often, it’s not as simple as having a quick one-off discussion but requires employers to articulate

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More often than we'd like, we see clients as employers receiving bullying claims in response to their attempts at employee performance management. These unfortunate situations can sometimes arise from an employer simply mishandling, or neglecting to, manage performance correctly.

 In this article we outline what does and does not constitute bullying in the workplace, and steps employers can take to avoid the types of scenarios that may lead to bullying claims.

What is bullying?

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Managing your organisation's performance effectively entails managing your employees' performance effectively.

An annual performance appraisal is an integral part of this process but should not be the only time that there is feedback between the employer and the employee.

Regular performance reviews enable you to:

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From 1 January 2014, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) will deal with workplace bullying claims from workers within 14 days of the complaint being made, and will have powers to make orders to stop the bullying. Financial penalties will apply to employers who contravene FWC orders resulting from a bullying claim. This article looks at bullying in the current employment law landscape and then outlines the new laws and some practical steps for employers to get ready for these changes.

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BlandsLaw webinar - Wednesday 30 October 2013 at 1pm

We're not talking about your expanding waistline (you look great). We are talking about the five essential things that you need to know about employment law - your obligations as an employer, and protection for your business - as your business grows.

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With a few busy months ahead for many businesses holding work social functions and Christmas parties, it is a good time to consider the issues around drugs and alcohol in the workplace. From a legal risk management perspective, best business practice around these issues involves the implementation of workplace policies that cover not only drugs and alcohol, but also performance management, occupational health and safety, discrimination and termination. It may be useful at this time of year to remind employees what policies are in place and when these apply.

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A recent tribunal decision in Queensland highlights how important it is for employers to understand the dos and don’ts of performance management. In Ram v Yes Distribution Pty Ltd and Anor[1], the employer, an Optus reseller, required a sales employee to move to their Townsville store when forced to close their Cairns store for business reasons. The catch, however, was that during discussions with the employee about this relocation the employer chose to raise performance issues as part of the discussion. The employee subsequently claimed that she had been discriminated against on the basis of family responsibilities and that her family commitments prevented her making the move from Cairns to Townsville.

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It’s mid February already. If you’re a small to medium business owner you may be finalising your business plan for the year ahead – or perhaps your team has its head down, on the way to achieving its goals for this quarter. Managing your business’ performance effectively entails managing your employees’ performance effectively. An annual performance appraisal is an integral part of this process but should not be the only time that there is feedback between the employer and the employee.

Regular performance reviews enable you to: 

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