New Zealand: Training and development in performance management

Last Updated: 22 March 2017
Article by Amanda Douglas

Training and Development in Performance Management

It can be costly and frustrating for employers to have members of staff who aren't performing. However, employers have an obligation to ensure that employees are provided with the required training and development necessary to complete the job they are hired to carry out. We outline when you may need to focus on training and development in relation to performance management of staff.

Human Resources planning

Effective Human Resources planning is vital to ensure training and development needs are met both collectively and individually, and that performance levels are appropriately managed. Human Resources planning is relevant throughout the employment relationship.

It all starts with recruitment and ensuring that the right person for the job is hired. At that stage, a thorough job analysis of the available role, with the resulting job description, will help to ensure that a person with the appropriate skills and fit for the job is appointed. A job description is also a useful tool for the employer to set out their expectations, as well as providing the employee with delineated boundaries.

Induction

Once an employee is appointed to a role, it is essential that the employer assists him or her to become a fully functioning member of the organisation through an induction process. An effective induction can reduce turnover, long-term training costs, and improve employee well-being. A thorough induction process can also identify, from the outset, any areas where the employee may require further training or supervision, and inform the employee of the employer's expectations.

In New Zealand Meat Processors etc., IUOW v Prestige Meats Ltd a young person with no formal educational qualifications and no work experience was hired as a general purpose worker in a poultry processing plant. His duties involved killing, boning and processing birds. After two days, the employer was not satisfied with the employee's performance and dismissed the employee. The dismissal of the employee was considered unjustified by the Employment Court as the employer's expectations were unrealistic and the skills required for the job were difficult to master. The Employment Court highlighted the lack of a proper induction process in coming to that decision. Without adequate training and supervision, the employee could not be expected to adequately fulfil the role.

This will be even more relevant where an employer hires an employee knowing that they may not possess the entire skill set required for the role to which they are appointed. Therefore, before appointment, the employer should consider the amount of training that an employee may need and discuss that with the employee. That identified training should then be provided to the employee.

"An employer is required to provide the amount of training to an employee which is enough to enable the employee to fulfil the job"

How much training does an employer need to provide?

This question was considered in Auckland Provincial District Local Authorities Offices IUOW v Mount Albert City Council. An employee temporarily covered the position of Computer Systems Co-ordinator and was eventually asked to be appointed to the role permanently. The employer pointed out to the employee that the role would be difficult because it involved managerial aspects, and, more so, because a new computer system was about to be introduced. There were problems with the new computer system. The employee persisted and was eventually appointed to the position. The employer had arranged for a person to give the employee training on the new system, however, as this person was kept occupied trying to solve the numerous computer issues, the training never happened. The employee could not cope and asked to be transferred. The employer had no other roles available and the employee was dismissed.

The Employment Court held that the employer failed in its duties to the employee by not providing adequate training in management skills and in the new computer system, and by leaving her to work without adequate supervision or instruction. This failure by the employer was considered to amount to a breach of the implied term of the employment agreement that the employer would provide all that was reasonably necessary in carrying out the overall purpose of the contract.

An employer is required to provide the amount of training to an employee which is enough to enable the employee to fulfi l the job. This was elaborated on in Walker v Telecom New Zealand Limited, where the Authority said that the implied duty on an employer to provide training is limited to training which ensures that an employee is capable of fulfi lling his or her current position. Not providing that training could give the employee grounds to raise a personal grievance for disadvantage.

Managing performance issues

Employee performance should be monitored throughout the employment relationship. This can be done through regular performance appraisals and continued training, amongst other initiatives. However, if an employee is still not performing to the required standard, an employer can begin a formal process to address the poor performance. If the employee does not improve during this process, dismissal of the employee will normally be justifi ed.

The employer needs to be patient and proactive throughout this process; it requires setting time frames for the employee to improve, and regular monitoring of performance.

As a general rule, the employee must be put on notice that his or her performance is not up to the required standard, and be given an opportunity to reach that standard. To demonstrate that a decision to dismiss an employee for poor performance is justified, the employer should:

  • discuss the performance with the employee and communicate any dissatisfaction with the level or standard;
  • provide the employee with a clear statement of the expected standard or level of performance;
  • warn the employee of the consequences, including the possibility of dismissal, if performance does not improve to the required level or standard;
  • provide the employee with the training, supervision and other assistance needed for improvement;
  • give the employee a reasonable opportunity to improve; and
  • consider and discuss with the employee, what changes have occurred, and whether they meet the employers' expectations and requirements.

Training needs and other assistance for improvement are relevant considerations. If further reasonable training needs are identifi ed during the performance management process, this should be provided to the employee.

Generally speaking, this performance management process should be forward looking and focused on improvement, and not used with the intention of dismissing the employee at the end of it, although that may become the correct and justifi ed outcome.

As with every process in employment law, it begins with the employment agreement and any policies in place. Employers must be familiar with their own policies. If there is a policy in place relating to poor performance by an employee, this must be followed. Case law is clear on this point – strict adherence to the contract and policy is an absolute.

Summary

Generally, managing performance issues is essential to building a high performance workplace. Combined with effective human resources planning, it will increase productivity and reduce staff turnover. Although it requires investment of time and money, it will likely result in effi ciencies. If that is not possible, employers need to demonstrate they have met their side of the bargain in meeting training and development needs.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Amanda Douglas
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions