How to have a performance discussion with an employee

Posted on 30th January 2019

We all know that at times, performance conversations can either be very easy or indeed very difficult discussions to have.

My initial piece of advice is… “Stick to the FACTS!”.

For the purpose of this blog, we are going to discuss cases whereby the performance of an employee isn’t quite where it should be. In this case it is important to try to determine whether low performance is due to the employees conduct or their capability; in some situations, it may be both.

Here are a few suggested steps for you to follow in either case:

  1. Meet with your employee to discuss your concerns, backed with clear examples. When I say clear examples, I mean it, keep it specific because if the employee asks you for examples, you’ll find yourself in an uncomfortable situation!
  2. Explain to your employee what they need to do in order to improve. Remember that sometimes this is all it takes for an employee to make the necessary improvements.
  3. Should informal discussions fail to promote improvements, a performance improvement plan may need to be in place for the employee. The performance improvement plan needs to be clear and measurable, with a view for performance to improve over time.
  4. Stick to the plan and monitor performance throughout! The plan is as much the employer’s responsibility as the employees, setting clear expectations whilst helping them along the way. Diarising regular review meetings along the way to discuss how it’s going and to ensure the plan stays current.

Keeping in mind that performance conversations don’t have to be scary! If you weren’t quite performing, you would rather someone told you and helped you get to where you needed to be… right?

For further guidance on how to have these conversations or what to include in performance improvement plans, call us on 01536 215240.

Charlotte Batchelor Character
Written by:
Charlotte Batchelor
HR Adviser