How Can You Improve Staff Performance? The Second Stage

Dear <<First Name>>

In the last issue of this newsletter, we looked at how you can improve the performance of your staff, through regular meetings and an Improved Performance Plan. This will help you to prevent small problems of performance becoming larger, unmanageable ones and you can read that issue again here.
But what do you do if your employee’s performance still doesn’t improve? This is when you need to set up a Stage Two Meeting and this is what we’ll cover in this issue of HR Watch.
Who else do you know who would find this newsletter useful? Please do forward it on to them!

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How Can You Improve Staff Performance? The Second Stage

You’ve carried out an initial investigation and meeting, to discuss the performance issues you’ve noticed with your member of staff. You put together an action plan which you both agreed to and scheduled appropriate meetings to review progress. At the end of the review period, you assess the employee’s performance against the objectives set. Unfortunately, their performance has not improved as you’d hoped it would.
It’s now time to set up the Second Stage Improved Performance Meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the employee's performance and decide what measures should be taken, with a view to getting the required improvement in the employee's performance. The meeting should be conducted by the employee's manager. Where it is considered appropriate by the company, a member of the HR department may be present. The employee is also allowed to ask a colleague to attend.
The approach at this meeting should be supportive, so that you can discuss and agree:


  • Areas in which the performance is unsatisfactory
  • Required performance improvement and how this will be measured
  • An action plan for addressing the performance issues with an agreed timescale for improvement
  • A review date
  • The potential consequences of the employee failing to meet the agreed performance level.
The action plan should include specific and measurable objectives that are accurate, relevant and time-bound (otherwise known as SMART goals). The manager will need to look at whether or not the employee needs any additional resources, time, training or coaching, in order to meet these objectives.
Following the meeting, you should confirm the details of the action plan in writing. In the event that you need to impose a warning on your member of staff, it must contain the following information:

  • The period for which warning remains live
  • The nature of poor work performance
  • The expected level of improvement with timescales
  • The consequence of continued poor work performance
  • The right to appeal.

As with all people problems, the sooner you start to work on them, the quicker they will be resolved. Taking this approach means that you are less likely to even need a Stage Two meeting, never mind issue a warning! So if you feel that you need to put together an Improved Performance Review Policy and Procedure for your business, then get in touch now to talk about how we can help you do this. Don’t leave it until it’s too late!


Practical HR – Help Them Hit Their Targets

Last time we told you about how Barry’s performance wasn’t quite what his manager was expecting it to be. This was partly because Barry didn’t have a clear job description and had never had an annual appraisal with his former manager.
So how did Bill go about helping Barry to hit his targets? The first thing he did, in consultation with Barry and his line manager, Brandon, was write a full job description, so it was clear what the job entailed. Then they created an Improved Performance Plan for Barry. This showed the realistic sales targets that the business needed him to meet – the number of new clients he needed to take on each month and the increase in turnover as a result of these new clients, on a monthly basis. The Plan included the date of a review meeting to be held in three months time, to assess Barry’s performance. It also showed dates of less formal one-to-one meetings that Barry and Brandon would have every month, in the run up to the three month meeting.
Barry reminded his boss that he didn’t drive and so couldn’t attend meetings with existing clients. It was agreed that Barry would focus on bringing in new business, which would then be looked after by the Account Management team. To help Barry with his sales calls, Bill agreed that the company website would need to be improved, so that Barry could direct prospective clients there for more information – something to keep the Marketing Department busy. It was also made quite clear to Barry what would happen if he didn’t meet his new, more appropriate targets. The meeting ended with everyone on good terms – Barry kept his job, Bill kept a favourite member of staff and Brandon could look forward to a more productive sales team.

Employment Law Update

Here’s where we keep you up to date with how changes to Employment Law that might affect your staff and therefore your business.
National Minimum Wage – This increased at the start of October 2015. The adult rate will increase by 20p to £6.70 per hour and the Apprentice rate increases by 57p to £3.30 per hour. Click here to see all the increased rates.
Fit for Work – From 8 September 2015, all employers across England and Wales can refer employees who have been off work for four weeks or more for a free Fit for Work referral. The Fit for Work website has information on how to make a referral, a quick reference guide for employers, and a telephone advice line.

Apprentices – It is great to take on an Apprentice, but these are young people, often aged under 18, so there are different legal requirements for them, such as wages and hours of work. Remember that they are on a training programme, so will need supervising and they may need time off to attend college. Find out more here.

 Travelling time counts as work – Following a recent EU case, employees without a specific base will not need to include travel to their first, and from their last appointment of the day as working time. Click here for more details.

If you have a question about any issue covered in this newsletter, or any other employee concern within your business, do get in touch.


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