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Performance improvement Policy

Performance Improvement

Effective performance management creates a harmonious and productive workplace which is beneficial for everyone. The best businesses are always improving their operations to stay competitive. To be able to do this, everyone needs to be performing to a high standard. High performance in business means:

  • Increased productivity
  • Engaged and committed employees
  • Retention of employees

Poor performing employees can have a negative impact on a business, and can lead to:

  • Unhappy customers or clients
  • Decreased productivity
  • High turnover of employees
  • Unmotivated and underperforming employees

Policy

Where warranted Global Marketplace will use improvement processes to develop the performance and conduct of an employee. Should such improvement processes be unsuccessful in improving an employee’s performance, Global Marketplace may decide to end an employee’s employment. Depending on the circumstances, performance and conduct improvement action may include verbal or written warnings, counselling or retraining.

Global Marketplace requires a minimum standard of conduct and performance which will be made clear to employees in management appraisals. If an employee does not meet this standard, Global Marketplace will take appropriate and corrective action that may consist of ongoing training and support. Formal performance improvement procedures will start when other corrective action fails.

Principles

When dealing with poor performance or conduct in the workplace there are a number of principles that will be applied. This is particularly relevant when taking a disciplinary approach and conducting formal investigations.

Natural Justice

The rules of natural justice ensure that investigations, and any related decisions, are fair and reasonable. In the context of suspected misconduct, and action taken in relation to cases of repeated unsatisfactory performance, natural justice generally requires that:

  • An employee is informed that a complaint or situation is being investigated
  • The employee is informed of the specific allegations made against them
  • The process that will be followed is explained to the employee
  • The employee is informed that they may have a support person present at any meetings
  • The employee is informed of the purpose of any meeting they are required to attend
  • The employee is provided with an opportunity to respond to any allegations
  • The investigator, and the decision maker must act in good faith and without bias
  • A decision is made based on the facts that are presented by both parties
  • The employee is given a reasonable opportunity to present all relevant evidence

Confidentiality 

It is essential that all information about an alleged act of misconduct or unsatisfactory performance remains confidential before, during and after the investigation process. This is to ensure fair treatment and fair process, to minimise the risk of victimisation, to avoid defamation proceedings and respect people’s privacy. It will also help to develop and maintain employee confidence in the process. When non-disciplinary techniques are applied, the confidentiality principles of the organisation’s performance management policy also apply.

Conflict of Interest

The principles of natural justice require that an investigator handling an unsatisfactory performance or misconduct complaint must act in good faith and without bias. It is important to ensure there is no perception of bias or conflict of interest that could be interpreted as prejudicing an investigation. If an investigator has a vested interest or a prior involvement in a matter, or a personal relationship with either the complainant or respondent, there may be a conflict of interest. It is also important that the person who decides that an investigation should take place should not conduct the investigation. In addition, the investigator and the person deciding on any sanction must be different people. This is essential to avoid perceptions of bias or a conflict of interest.

Victimisation

Victimisation is prohibited under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 and Federal anti-discrimination laws.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that employees are not victimised or treated unfairly because they have made a complaint. Victimisation means punishing or threatening to punish someone. It can include:

  • Bullying or intimidation from co-workers
  • Being denied a promotion or being moved to a position with less responsibility
  • Dismissal from employment
  • Being refused further contract work

What is Unsatisfactory Performance? 

Unsatisfactory performance is when you aren’t doing your job to the required standards or expectations, or are behaving in an unacceptable manner. Some examples include:

  • Not carrying out work to the required standard, or not doing your job at all
  • Failing to meet Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Not following workplace policies, rules or procedures
  • Unauthorised absence from work
  • Repeated lateness to work
  • Unacceptable conduct at work, e.g, telling inappropriate jokes, making excessive personal phone calls or sending personal emails at work
  • Disruptive or negative conduct, e.g. speaking negatively about the company

There is a difference between unsatisfactory performance and serious misconduct.

Preventing Underperformance

The steps that Global Marketplace will take to minimise and prevent underperformance include:

  • Conduct and work expectations being clearly outlined in position descriptions
  • Addressing issues when and if they arise
  • Conducting regular performance reviews
  • Encouraging employees to speak to a manager of they have questions or concerns about his or her role/position description

Managing and Supporting Underperformance 

There are two approaches that Global Marketplace can take to support and manage underperformance – non-disciplinary and disciplinary. 

A non-disciplinary approach will focus on improving or changing the performance to avoid or resolve tension in the workplace. This approach uses various techniques to support and shape improved performance. A disciplinary approach imposes sanctions, such as a warning to discourage under performance or poor conduct.

Non-disciplinary Approach

Both performance and conduct issues can generally be dealt with using a non-disciplinary approach and this includes actions such as; counselling, coaching, training, professional development and where interpersonal conflict is involved (voluntary) mediation.

Procedure

Step One: Recognising underperformance

Step Two: Setting up a private and confidential meeting with the employee and manager  – this will take place in a non-visible and uninterrupted area. A support person would be able to attend the meeting if required. The support person could be a co-worker, family member, friend or union representative. The role of this person is to support the employee and the support person will not be required to speak or advocate for the employee during the meeting.

The Purpose of the Meeting

  • To describe the concerns to the employee (giving examples) and outline how it is impacting the business, other employees, customers and/or the safety of the workplace
  • To seek a response to the concerns raised
  • To outline how the behaviour needs to be changed, and by when and ensure that the employee understands what is required of them
  • Tp develop a plan (in collaboration) to be able to make the necessary changes
  • To offer appropriate e.g. training/support/mediation
  • To set a time to review change and improvement

Step Three: Following the meeting the employees performance and conduct will be monitored and any training offered will be provided. Ongoing feedback will be given to the employee during this process.

Step Four: A second meeting will take place at the end of the review process between the employee and manager to review progress and change

Step Five: If the behaviour or conduct has not changed or improved, the process will be either extended or repeated

Step Six: In some cases the next step may be to commence a disciplinary process

Disciplinary Approach

In some cases, it is more appropriate to deal with cases of misconduct or underperformance following a disciplinary approach. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Misconduct or serious misconduct
  • Repeated acts of under performance
  • Where non-disciplinary action has been tried, but unsuccessful

Procedure 

The same procedure as outlined for the non-disciplinary approach will be utilised, however an additional part of this meeting will include the notification as to whether disciplinary action is being considered. In most cases the meeting will be adjourned to consider the employees response and decide what, if any disciplinary action will be taken.

Warnings

Warnings may be either first, second or final depending on the seriousness of the issue or concern. There is no legal requirement to provide a set number of warnings prior to dismissal. However, in the interests of  fairness, Global Marketplace will seek to:

  • Warn an employee about performance or conduct issues
  • Provide an employee with a reasonable opportunity to improve his or her performance and conduct

A warning letter will contain the following information:

  • Details of the behaviour, issue, incident or concern
  • An explanation of the expected standards
  • An outline of any previous discussions regarding the issue
  • What Global Marketplace will do to support the employee
  • An action plan
  • A timeframe for the change and improvement to occur
  • An outline of the consequences of failing to improve or meet the required standard

Records of all meetings, training and/or coaching will be keep with an employees personnel file and will include the date, time, location and a summary of the meeting.

Serious Misconduct

Serious misconduct is when an employee:

  • Causes serious and imminent risk to the health and safety of another person or to the reputation or profits of Global Marketplace
  • Deliberately behaves in a way that is inconsistent with continuing his or her employment

Examples include:

  • Theft
  • Fraud
  • Assault
  • Intoxication at work
  • Refusing to carry out lawful and reasonable instruction that is consistent with an employees contract

If an employee deliberately breaches business policy or procedure, or engages in misconduct, Global Marketplace may start improvement procedures, or, in cases of serious misconduct or breach of policy, dismiss an employee.

Procedure

In instances of serious misconduct, an investigation will be conducted by an investigator (internal or external) to establish the facts. This may include talking to witnesses if applicable. The principles set out at the start of this policy will be abided by as part of any investigation. The investigation process is as follows:

  • The investigator will consider all documentary material
  • The investigator will interview the complainant, respondent and any witnesses (as necessary)
  • The investigator will seek a response to the allegation from the employee (taking notes of this discussion) and allow him or her to have a support person present
  • The investigator will give genuine consideration to the respondents reply and circumstances
  • The investigator will have a witness present
  • The investigator will provide a summary of the facts to a decision maker (normally the Managing Director) to make a decision
  • All correspondence will be documented and filed appropriately

Suspension from Duties 

In some situations, suspending an employee is an appropriate risk management strategy. When determining whether to suspend an employee, Global Marketplace will give consideration to:

  • The potential risk to the health and safety of other employees and/or clients
  • The potential for the employee to interfere with the investigation
  • The risk that the misconduct may continue
  • The severity of the alleged act of misconduct

Note: If an employee has a disability that requires reasonable adjustments to be made to the workplace or job to allow him or her to work safely and productively, they should raise this with a manager. Global Marketplace will only refuse such requests on reasonable business grounds. The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code applies to all Global Marketplace employees and will be followed in the event of the dismissal of an employee. (fairwork.gov.au)

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