Implementing Capability Procedures
Performance management is a critical area of managing people. Managing people can be time consuming, stressful and often sometimes a minefield. Ensuring you have employees performing to their full potential will boost productivity and therefore profitability. Not dealing with performance can have a considerable negative impact on the business performance.
Performance is our specialism, our HR Specialists/Consultants are on hand to support and guide you through the whole performance management cycle, from guidance on probationary reviews, to devising appraisals bespoke for your business.
Do you have a capability procedure? Do you use it? This process is often underutilised by businesses. Our consultants can assist you implementing this process in order that the business is protected should it need to make difficult decisions later down the line.
Performance management case study
A client approached Peach about an employee they wanted to exit from their business, due to their poor conduct. Peach asked the client for examples of the employee’s poor conduct and the client said the employee was making continual errors on a certain task, despite being shown how to do the task several times, by one of their colleagues.
Peach pointed out that this sounds like it could be a performance issue, which falls under the capability umbrella, as opposed to poor conduct. Peach explained to the client how conduct and capability are different and thus, managed differently. Conduct is to do with an employee’s behaviour at work – if the employee has control over their actions, it is likely to be classed as conduct. Capability is about an employee’s ability to do their job effectively – if, no matter how hard the individual tries, they cannot do their job, it is likely to be classed as capability. The client said they were not aware of the differences and from how Peach explained it, they agreed that it sounds more like a capability issue.
Peach asked the client several questions to obtain a deeper understanding of the matter. Had the client met with the employee and highlighted their concerns, explaining why they are a concern? Had the employee been given a fair opportunity to improve their performance? Did the employee require additional training and support from Management to give them every chance to improve their performance? Was there anything the business wasn’t aware of that could be impacting the employee’s performance?
Peach also asked the client if they really wanted to exit the employee from their business. At first, the client said ‘yes, they are costing the business money with the errors they keep making and the time which is being spent managing them.’ Peach empathised with the client, but asked the client if they were aware of the average cost of a replacing an employee. The client did not know and were shocked to hear that, according to a CIPD research study, the average cost of filling a vacancy is around £6,000. Peach also informed them that this cost is likely to be higher if an outsourced recruitment agency are used to source a replacement, as they charge an average of 20-30% of the new hire’s annual salary. Peach explained that everything which had to be done as part of the new starter process (legal paperwork, induction training, setting them up on the systems and allowing time for them to shadow colleagues in their first few weeks) takes a considerable amount of time, which costs a considerable amount of money. Peach also pointed out that the client must have seen some positive traits in the employee, or they wouldn’t have offered them the job, and so have they considered supporting them in improving their performance, as opposed to giving up all hope and considering fast-tracking to a potential dismissal? Peach explained that this is the purpose behind performance management, to help someone improve to the standard the business are happy with, not a way to manage the employee out of the business, at least not in the first instance. Sometimes, it does unfortunately reach that stage, but this should only be when a fair performance management process has been exhausted and there are still no signs of improvement.
The client agreed with Peach’s advice and confirmed that they had not yet mentioned anything to the employee about their concerns with their performance and so were, essentially, starting from the very beginning of the performance management process.
Peach supported the client through their performance management process, outlined in their Employee Handbook. Peach assisted the client with meeting with the employee, highlighting the areas of concern and explaining why they were a concern, and what improvements the business needed to see. It was during this meeting that the employee admitted they did not understand the way their colleague had showed them to carry out the task and after their colleague had shown them a few times, the employee felt like they could not ask again and so continued to struggle. Peach suggested to the client that another colleague could try and show the employee, perhaps a Manager with more experience? Peach also suggested a review meeting with the employee in one month’s time, which should allow for improvements to be made, following the additional training with a different colleague.
The client approached Peach a few weeks later and were extremely pleased to report the employee was doing much better. The client had taken Peach’s advice and arranged for a Manager to show the employee how to carry out the task. The employee said that they now understood this a lot better and over the next few weeks, the errors they were initially making, prior to the re-training, had reduced by 70%! The client expressed their gratitude to Peach for educating them on the purpose of performance management and the cost of the alternative – giving up!
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