If your employer believes you are under-performing at work, you may be subject to a Performance Procedure or Performance Improvement Plan. Although such plans are supposed to assist you to improve your performance, they are often undertaken as part of a disciplinary exercise which leaves you, as the employee, anxious about your job security.
Any disciplinary process can be daunting, but being subject to performance management procedures can make you feel you have lost before you have even started. If you have been invited to a capability or performance management meeting, you need clear advice to make sure you know where you stand.
Forewarned is forearmed
Whilst most employers are simply looking for an improvement in your performance, it is important to understand that if you fail to engage with the process or do not achieve the objectives set for you, it may give your employer the evidence they need to dismiss you.
Therefore, it is very important you prepare as fully as possible for any performance meeting. Comparison information from colleagues, knowledge of your employers policies and procedures, previous performance reviews and appraisals; indeed any information you can have at your fingertips to defend yourself will be useful. Make sure you obtain from your employer:-
- an explanation as to why they say your work is not acceptable to them. Make them be specific and give examples. If they genuinely want you to improve, they should be able to tell you what is wrong with what you are currently doing.
- clear information as to what is expected of you and how any improvement will be measured. If you consider the objectives set for you are unfair, say so at the meeting and make sure your comments and explanations are minuted. If, for example, you are given a sales target at the performance meeting which is higher than any of your colleagues, make sure your objection to the target is recorded and explain why you object. Do not allow your employer to set you up to fail.
- a commitment to training, supervision or mentoring. This is especially relevant if the perceived failures in your performance are due to your employer's failure to provide you with proper training in the first place.
Finally, make sure any meetings you are have are properly minuted and that you ensure your comments are recorded. Also make sure that any required improvements are recorded to ensure both you and your employer know and understand what is expected.
If you are going through a Performance Procedure or are worried your employer intends to dismiss you for a capability reason, you need specialist legal advice. For a free, no obligation discussion, contact the experienced employment lawyers at Lincoln based LincsLaw Solicitors.