Keeping track of your employees’ performance — both when it’s good, and not so good — will help keep your business running smoothly and help your employees to meet the requirements of their role.
A performance management plan is effectively a process for what you’ll do if an employee is not performing at an acceptable level.
In most cases, having regular performance appraisals and informal catch ups with your team will be enough to keep things on track. But occasionally you might need to take it further, and this is when your performance management plan comes into play.
Knowing in advance what steps you need to take means you can act quickly to help your employee get back on track.
These will also provide a record of what's happened.
If you’re concerned about an employee’s performance, this process will help you work out what the issues are, and put a plan in place for improvement.
Managing performance issues (external link) - Employment New Zealand
The steps and suggested timeframes are outlined below, and also in these handy guides:
Start by clarifying what the issues are:
Request a meeting with your employee. The meeting request should:
At the meeting, discuss the employee’s overall performance, and outline the areas of concern — relating it to the agreed standards in their job description.
Allow them to respond, and consider any contributing factors, e.g. personal issues or whether they think they haven’t had sufficient training.
After discussing the issues, agree what the acceptable standards will be going forward, and what needs to happen for your employee to achieve them, including what training or support you’ll provide. Agree when you’ll meet again to review their performance — around two months should be about right. You should also let them know what the potential impact will be if they don’t meet them, e.g. you may issue a formal warning.
After the meeting, document the performance agreement — put a copy in the employee’s personnel file and give a copy to the employee for their reference.
During the period between the first meeting and the review, document anything related to the employee’s performance, e.g. any training or support you provide, dates when performance is particularly good or not up to standard.
Set up the follow-up meeting for the agreed date. Again, you should do this in writing, and let the employee know they can bring a support person with them.
At the meeting, review:
Based on the review, you can:
Document the outcome of this meeting and put a copy in your employee’s personnel file, and provide them with their own copy.
To reduce the risk of a personal grievance, don’t fall into these common traps: