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Before you fire a poor performing employee, try this

by , 11 March 2015
As a manager, you know that you are responsible for managing your own department, especially the people in it. But things don't always turn out the way you hope.

So what happens if one of your staff member's performance begins to drop and starts affecting the overall results of your team or even the company?

Can you simply let him go?

There's a high risk that you might be taken to the CCMA for unfair dismissal. But if you follow these four steps you should be safe if this happens.

Do this to rectify poor performance BEFORE you show your employee the door

Step 1: Set clear targets and measures for the team you're managing
 Prepare two types of performance targets and measures, so you can follow up on:
1.      Your team's performance and contribution to the company; and
2.      The individual's performance and contribution to the team.
Step 2: Develop the skills of your team
Pay attention to the skills required by each individual as well as by the team as a whole that are necessary to achieve the set targets. If you observe any skills gaps, offer training or support for your people to develop these skills.

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No more excuses!

Last year, I had to deal with a poor performance issue and I didn't know where to start. There were dozens
of questions that ran through my mind…
  • Can I fire her for poor performance?
  • What steps must I take to improve her performance before I start the proper performance process?
  • How and when can I have a performance hearing?
  • What are the steps I take once I've had the initial meeting about poor performance?
I spent hours scouring the internet and asking many (expensive) labour lawyers for the answers to my questions. If only I'd had the interactive 'No Excuses' Guide to Performance Management CD I would've cut that time in half! Click here to find out more 
Step 3: Review the team and individual performance
How can you do this?

There are four ways: 
1.     By collecting as much information as possible on performance against the weekly, monthly or annual targets and reviewing it with the whole team so you can see where improvement is needed.
2.     By conducting a peer evaluation in which every team member's performance will be rated by her or his peers.
3.     Obtaining feedback from other teams in the company who are the internal customers of your team's products or services. And also checking on any available measures or indicators of customer satisfaction.
4.     Or you could get feedback from external customers outside the company who use the team's products or services and check on any available information on market research.
Step 4: Reward your team's achievements
You can reward your team or the individual in your team in one of the following three ways: 
1.     Use the results of the peer evaluation to reward individuals, who are seen by their peers as good team players, and use the results of individual performance appraisals to award individual increases.
2.     Measure the extent to which your team has achieved or exceeded the set target, and decide on the size of the reward or bonus to be awarded equally to all team members.
3.     Use the results of feedback from other teams, external customer reports or the company's general results for the purpose of rewarding high-performing teams that have made a special contribution to the company.
So instead of rushing into firing your employee and getting into trouble with the authorities, try to help him grow first and his work performance will definitely improve. 

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