Constructive communication around performance adds great value to an organisation and employees and is effective when correctly and thoroughly completed by managers and employees. Aside from the obvious record of performance, real-time feedback can assist an employee in various ways.
When conducted effectively, employee performance appraisals can be helpful to both employer and employee. Performance appraisals are important because they help each side of the table gather their thoughts and become more familiar with the areas that need improvement and those that are working well.
A formal appraisal system is effective if it is part of a culture of open communication and regular positive feedback to employees. It is advisable to conduct these reviews monthly to help establish and communicate employee and manager expectations in a monthly cycle. Monthly reviews may help drive the importance of performance and send a clear message for meeting and exceeding expectations.
Regular performance appraisals have the following advantages:
Self-Assessment: Allowing employees to assess their own performance can be a beneficial review method. This can provide a clue to managers as to areas where employees feel they can improve and expand.
Assist to identify, track, and maintain goals.
Keeps everyone engaged.
Avoiding the surprise of employees finding out that they are not meeting their manager's expectations.
Building a stronger relationship between manager and employee.
Assist managers by identifying areas where they can improve their management skills.
Promotion: Performance reviews can help managers discuss and consider any promotion or successional opportunities for high performing employees.
Compensation: Performance reviews can assist when an incentive bonus structure is in place.
One must also be mindful that if a performance appraisal is not conducted in the correct manner, it can hold various disadvantages for the business. The performance appraisal can create a negative experience for both the employee as well as the manager. Proper training on processes should be provided before embarking upon this process.
Should an employee fail to meet the required performance standard, it is advisable to implement a performance improvement plan to try and assist the employee to improve his/her performance through any applicable interventions such as training, guidance, or counselling.
However, in terms of labour legislation, no employer is obliged to retain an employee who does not perform according to the company's expectations.
In terms of item 9 of Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act: Any person determining whether a dismissal for poor work performance is unfair should consider:
(a) whether or not the employee failed to meet a performance standard; and
(b) if the employee did not meet a required performance standard whether or not:
the employee was aware, or could reasonably be expected to have been aware, of the required performance standard.
the employee was given a fair opportunity to meet the required performance standard, and
dismissal was an appropriate sanction for not meeting the required performance standard.
From Schedule 8 it is therefore clear that no disciplinary process is initially envisaged. The process is one of counselling with the view to remedying the situation, and only if this is not successful, to then proceed to terminate services.
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