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What’s the difference between performance management vs disciplinary issues and why does it matter?

Date: 24/03/2015

Performance management vs disciplinary issues

• You are aware of an issue with an employee but are unsure how to deal with it – is it a performance issue or a disciplinary issue? Does it even matter?
• Yes, it matters. There are two distinct processes – one for managing poor performance and one for dealing with bad behaviour – and it is important to start off down the right path.
• When deciding which path to follow, ask yourself some questions:
• Is the issue to do with how the employee performs their work, or is it about how they behave in the workplace?
• Was it deliberate or unintentional?
• Could it fairly be described as ‘misconduct’?
• Has your Code of Conduct potentially been breached?
• How have other situations been dealt with – consistency / disparity?

        Performance management
  • Focus is on helping the employee to improve their performance – i.e. how they perform their work.
  • Focus is on disciplining an employee for bad / inappropriate behaviour / misconduct.
  • Must go through warning stages before dismissal is considered, with reasonable opportunity to improve between each.
  • Warnings should be given for misconduct, but cases of serious misconduct may justify summary (immediate) dismissal.
Things to bear in mind:

• You must follow your Code of Conduct and policies and procedures. Check these first.
• The employee should be given the opportunity to comment on all information available to the decision-maker.
• All witness statements should be properly documented and signed
• Any response from the employee should be genuinely considered by the decision-maker.
• The employee should be informed of their right to have a representative and / or a support person present at meetings.
• It’s important to ask yourself am I acting as a fair and reasonable employer?
Your actual treatment of any given situation will depend upon the specific circumstances, your Code of Conduct and policies and procedures, and past practice.
If you are in any doubt, specific legal advice should be sought. Early clarification can save significant cost down the line.

By Megan Vant