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    <span class=August, 2016" />

    performance

    Managing employee performance is never plain sailing and can be stressful for both the employee and the manager if not done correctly. There are always situations that test and frustrate managers and if not tackled early can manifest into something more complex.

    Do you know what poor performance looks like? It can be exhibited in various ways and having an understanding of what it is could be the key to managing it. Things to watch are poor quality of work, lack of achievement against targets/deadlines, their behaviour and approach to work, carelessness to name but a few. Communication is the key here!

    Here are Peach’s top 5 tips for managing poor performance;
    1. Why don’t managers want to deal with it? There are many reasons, some don’t think that it is important, most say that they don’t have time, sometimes it may not be clear on what is causing the poor performance and they don’t know how to address it. For some managers it may be that they don’t want to be seen as the “bad guy”. It is important for managers to be trained to combat underperformance.
    2. Implications. What happens when you don’t deal with poor performance? You may see reduced profit for the business, it could affect the team’s ability to meet deadlines, low quality of work may lead to more customer complaints, low team morale and training needs may not be identified.
    3. Communicate. Find out why your employee is underperforming. It is important to identify the performance gap- the gap between what an employee should be doing and what the employee is actually doing. More often than not this can be managed effectively at this stage. Just having a 1:1 conversation explaining concerns with their performance and finding out if there is anything the company can do to help solve the issue. There are many causes of poor performance, it could be there is a lack of understanding of their role, dealing with personal issues, poor management/leadership, insufficient training/resources, or it could be that they lack any work motivation.
    4. Performance Improvement Plan
    If informal chats are not working, the next stage would be to start a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). This is a great platform to put down objectives that need to be achieved and set target dates for them to be completed by. Ensure that these objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) and consider whether any additional resources are required.
    5. Review
    It will be important to review the PIP regularly. If there are no signs of improvement you may be required to take this down a more formal route. We would recommend you contact Peach to advise on what to do next to minimise risk of any successful unfair dismissal claims.

    For further information on managing performance in the workplace or if you would like support on training managers dealing with poor performance please contact us on 0161 478 3800 or hello@peachlaw.co.uk.

    pokemon go

    Pokemon Go is the app everyone is talking about. It is a virtual scavenger hunt, making you get up and search and collect characters in the real world. There are increasing numbers of people young and old walking around holding their smart phones up trying to catch various species of Pokemon. Launched on 6 July it has already become the fastest growing app in the UK. It is a game that encourages obsessive behaviour, so it is not surprising that according to a Forbes poll 69% of users play during working hours. The poll indicates that the users are bonding with co-workers and are exercising more due to the app.

    Is it becoming disruptive?

    Some businesses may experience the following;
    •Employees are away from workstations for extended periods
    •Loss of productivity- if employees are moving around and changing location chances are they are not being productive.
    •Misuse of company property
    •Attendance- early leaving, lateness, absence.
    •Delays in completing tasks
    •Increase in accidents, incidents and near misses

    How to manage this?

    The phenomenon doesn’t appear to be age-limited. Businesses should be clear on what they expect but also try and use the community that may have developed from this. Early reports are that it gets people talking and working together, sharing ideas and views.

    However, caution should be applied for those working in factories or construction sites. There have been reports of people walking into walls and falling into rivers so your duty of care is paramount.

    Tips on managing disruption;
    •Put policies in place regarding the use of mobile phones in the workplace. Have employees downloaded the app on company phones? It may be worth reviewing your policies in this case.
    •Make sure your driving policy makes it clear that the use of mobile phones whilst driving is illegal
    •Investigating and disciplining where necessary
    •Continue with communicating priorities and deadlines, ensuring that performance doesn’t drop.

    Embrace?

    You may want to utilise the benefits that Pokemon Go can bring and turn it into a team building tool. Using breaks and lunch times to play it and perhaps hold competitions. Employees would be less likely to sneak away. The mobility required would help staff wellbeing as exercise is known to reduce stress and can therefore make some people more productive.

    In the end, Pokemon Go can be seen as just another distraction in this social media world and as such should be treated the same as Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp to name a few. Adopting a consistent approach on managing this in the work place will be key.

    If an employee is absent from work due to sickness, can they carry forward their annual leave entitlement?

    Holiday_sick

    The answer following the decisions of recent case law, is yes, and this has been reaffirmed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the case of ‘Sobczyszyn -v- Skola Podstawowa w Rzeplinie’.

    The facts of the case

    • Ms Sobczyszyn was a teacher at Szkoła Podstawowa w Rzeplinie (the school). She was entitled to 35 days’ annual year each leave under Article 64 of the Teachers’ Charter. Ms Sobczyszyn was on sick leave between 28 March and 18 November 2011. On 27 April 2012, she claimed that she was entitled to the annual leave she had accrued in 2011, but had been unable to take due to her sick leave.
    • The school disputed her claim, arguing that under the 2011 leave rota Ms Sobczyszyn should have taken her annual leave between 1 and 31 July 2011, and her entitlement had therefore been “used up” by her sick leave which extended over that period.
    • Ms Sobczyszyn brought a claim in the Polish courts. The court was unclear whether the Teachers’ Charter complied with the requirements of Article 7 of the Directive, which confirms that every worker is entitled to four weeks’ annual leave.
    • The court stayed the proceedings and referred the matter to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling on whether an employee can carry forward annual leave entitlement that was untaken during a period of sick leave?
    • The outcome was that if a worker is prevented from taking annual leave due to sickness, their entitlement can be carried forward.

    Annual leave entitlement therefore does accrue during periods of sick leave, prior to the Sobczyszyn case this was confirmed in the case of ‘Stringer v HMRC’ (previously known as ‘Ainsworth -v- HMRC’). In this case the ECJ held that:

    • a worker who is on sick-leave for the whole of an annual leave year is entitled to a period of four weeks’ paid annual leave, despite the fact they are not actually at work. The national courts can decide whether the paid leave can be taken during that year, or whether it should be carried over to another year, but either way the employee is entitled to be paid at some point.
    • the right to paid annual leave is not extinguished at the end of a leave year if the worker was on sick leave for the whole of that year, or if he was absent on sick leave for part of the year, and was still on sick-leave when his employment terminates.

    For employers, it is therefore important to recognise that whether leave has been booked by a worker or not makes no difference, if sickness prevents the worker from taking annual leave, the general rule is that workers must be able to use annual leave at a later date. This can be a complex area of law, which often raises questions of how much entitlement can be carried forward and how far back, if at all this provision can be backdated. We would recommend that advice is sought from one of our employment lawyers if you are encountering any issues regarding annual leave entitlement, arising out of sickness absence.

    Performance Appraisal

    Future of Performance Appraisals
    Your company has decided to do away with annual performance appraisals, now what? What are you replacing them with? Whatever it is it needs to be meaningful.
    Where is the structure? What will you refer to when the time comes for performance management or redundancy? From a legal perspective the requirement to have evidence to confirm how an employee is performing can be an integral part of any unfair dismissal claim.
    We have been discussing this in the Peach office looking from a HR perspective as well as the legal angle. Accenture announced last year that they were scrapping annual appraisals. Hooray! I hear managers cry. However, this was the headline but looking further in to it they are still initiating “continuous feedback”.

    Annual Performance Appraisals
    Appraisal schemes have been around a long time and can be seen as a painstaking process for managers, it is rare that they have bought into the process and can be a long drawn out task. Appraisals can also be seen as a “HR” system that they impose on to managers where employees and managers can’t see any value. A common bias in annual performance appraisals is the Recency Effect, whereby ratings are influenced by the most recent behaviour ignoring the commonly demonstrated behaviours during the entire appraisal period.
    Annual appraisals can be stressful for all sides due to the formality of the situation. If not dealt with correctly some employees can be surprised with the feedback they have received from their manager and likewise the manager may have not realised that their employee may be looking at developing in another area of the business or that they are unhappy in their role.
    However, that being said, annual appraisals are a convenient way of rating employees which can then help with reviewing pay, identifying best and poor performers. They offer structure to managers and security that there is a process and system they can fall back on. Sometimes it is the only chance where an employee and manager meet and some employees look forward to this opportunity.

    Continuous Feedback
    Employees are looking for instantaneous feedback, which mirrors our everyday life now where information is immediately available. Businesses are responding to this and reviewing their systems to meet the needs of today’s worker. Some organisations have developed apps that enables on the spot feedback from anyone within the business. This reflects that this way of performance managing employees happens at the right time and can be more positive and future orientated. Other businesses have adopted monthly pulse checks which look at what an employee has achieved in that month, what they intend to achieve, any improvements to be made and what support is needed.
    As this method deals with the here and now it enables goals and objectives to be amended if needs be rather than waiting 12 months, whereby those goals may not be relevant. However, there may be a negative aspect to this as there can be less emphasis on long term goal objectives.
    Giving employees regular feedback means it is more reliable, relatable and relevant. Employees can therefore immediately change something if it is not working or feel the praise and recognition increasing their engagement to the business.
    To enable continuous feedback to work managers need to be trained and have the right skills on how to do this, for example coaching.
    However, one of the most common reasons for managers not being able complete annual appraisals is that they don’t have time. So asking managers to have more regular conversations with their employees may actually be more difficult to carry out. It may be seen as more work for them. This is where your performance management strategy needs to be compatible and bespoke to your business. One-size definitely does not fit all!

    Future
    In my experience annual appraisals tend to be delayed, up to several months therefore becoming more and more less relevant, bordering on meaningless. This then has an opposite effect on what it is intended to have. Therefore, a change to reflect to where we are today is long overdue.
    If you are looking at changing your performance appraisal process the organisation needs to be ready for a different approach. Look at ways to enable your business to embrace a positive feedback culture where communication is open.
    However, no annual appraisals process is not the opportunity for managers to devolve their management duties. It is about adopting the positives from both the annual appraisal process and the continuous feedback process. There is still a place for annual goal setting.
    You may want to adopt regular feedback/pulse checks to provide immediate feedback which then can feed into a brief annual catch up. The annual meet will be easier for managers as they have the information already and it is a case of summarising and setting long term goals and objectives. Think about your processes and take advantage of the digital technology that is around today.
    Whatever you decide it should be simple, have the engagement of the leaders as well as your managers and any support and guidance should be offered and available.

    If you are thinking of moving from annual performance process to continuous feedback process or looking at revamping your performance management system contact one of our HR Specialists on 0161 478 3800 or hello@peachlaw.co.uk who can advise and guide you on the next steps.

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