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Before you dismiss a poor performer during his probation period do THIS

by , 23 July 2014
Let's say, you hire a new employee. You place him on probation to establish whether he has the ability to do what you require him to.

But, during his probation period, you find he's a poor performer and you think it's best to dismiss him immediately because he's costing your company a fortune.

We're here to tell you not to do this just yet.

Why not?

Because you must take the following steps before you let a poor performer go during his probation period - it's the only way to legally dismiss him and avoid compensation costs.


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Here are the three crucial steps to take before you let a poor performer go during probation


Step #1: Provide counselling for your employee


Once you've identified that your employee doesn't have the capacity to meet your requirements, investigate why and determine whether or not further corrective action would help him to meet the standards.


Note: The requirements are the ones you set on your employee's job description when you employed him.


Step #2: Evaluate your employee's performance in an objective manner


Make sure you remain objective. Don't become disappointed or defensive about hiring the wrong person.


If you feel you're being too harsh or too lenient, check with colleagues about what their impression is or ask an independent person to carry out the assessment. In every case, ensure you're being fair.


We're not done. Here's one more step to take before you dismiss a poor performer during his probation period.


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One more thing you must do before you dismiss a poor performer during his probation period


Step #3: Arrange a formal meeting to discuss his capacity


An employee who doesn't have the capacity to meet job requirements isn't guilty of misconduct and a disciplinary hearing isn't appropriate. But, you must follow this procedure to deal with him:

  • Notify your employee, in writing, that you want to meet with him so he can prepare.
  • Give your employee details of the agenda.
  • Invite your employee to make representations to defend himself. Don't forget to tell him to bring a representative.


It's only when you've taken these three steps that you can think about letting a poor performer go during probation. Taking these three steps will ensure the dismissal is legal.


The Labour Relations Act does after all say, to follow fair process when dealing with poor performance (incapacity dismissals) during probation you must ensure you've given your employee every opportunity to meet the standards you require.


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