Jersey: Carey Olsen Starting Point Employment Law Guides: Performance Management

Introduction

Carey Olsen Starting Point Guides are intended as a general introduction and guide to different aspects of Jersey law.

They are a summary of the most important issues that we come across. It is very much the edited highlights of those issues. If you would like legal advice in relation to any specific circumstances, please do give us a call.

The aim of this Starting Point Guide is to:

  • raise management awareness of the issues surrounding performance;
  • ensure that managers are provided with practical and easily understood tools to be able to manage performance within their teams; and
  • provide an introduction to performance management for managers.

This Starting Point Guide should be read in conjunction with your organisation's performance management policies and procedures.

What is performance management?

Performance management is a process which seeks to maximise the performance of the organisation through enabling individual employees and teams to achieve high levels of performance.

Performance management is best understood as a continuous process, which is based upon setting achievable objectives and regular feedback. Performance management is not just corrective; it is a process of ensuring that management is geared to encouraging the improvement and development of individuals and teams. The aim of managing performance is to encourage performance improvement and, where the required standards are not met, to enable appropriate and proportionate corrective action to be taken.

To be truly effective, performance management needs to be aligned to the goals of the organisation (both long term and short term).

Organisations should seek to develop integrated approaches which assist in achieving and maintaining high performance standards. This should include a focus on:

  • Recruitment and Retention getting and keeping the right people is key to achieving high performance standards.
  • Learning and Development recruiting employees is an expensive business; growing and developing your own is often more effective, not to mention cheaper.
  • Performance Standards and Objectives unless individuals and teams understand what is expected of them, it is difficult to then expect them to perform well; be clear and be consistent.
  • Confronting Problems unless employees know they are underperforming, how can they improve?

Why is it so important?

Enabling and helping individuals, teams and organisations to identify, achieve and maintain high levels of performance should be the focus of every employer. A structured and well executed performance management regime may help significantly in that regard.

More fundamentally, the unfair dismissal regimes in both Jersey and Guernsey identify capability (which includes performance) as a potentially fair reason for dismissal. A dismissal on capability grounds will, however, generally only be fair as long as the employer can demonstrate that a full and fair procedure has been followed (see the section on Corrective Action below).

Setting standards

Employees must:

  • know the standard of work performance expected of them and be encouraged to seek clarification if unsure;
  • be kept informed of progress at all stages of any formal procedure;
  • be advised that they may be represented by a colleague or trade union representative; and
  • undertake any additional training or development or other remedial action recommended by their supervisor or manager. Managers must:
  • know and communicate the standard of work performance expected of their staff and provide clarification where appropriate;
  • monitor and manage performance appropriately;
  • investigate all the salient facts;
  • advise or warn the member of staff of the problem as soon as their performance falls below expected standards;
  • give the member of staff a suitable period during which (s)/ he has a chance to improve performance;
  • inform the member of staff of progress at all stages of the procedure and advise them that they may be represented at the formal stages by a colleague or trade union representative;
  • take any appropriate action to assist and support the member of staff during the performance review period (whether formal or informal); and
  • maintain a complete, written record of all discussions and actions throughout the formal process. This record is confidential and should be restricted to those who need to know, i.e. the member of staff, those involved in the process and HR.

To read this Guide in full, please click here.

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.

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