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How do I get rid of an employee who can't do her job?

by , 28 January 2016
This is a question we received recently from Kerusha on the LabourandHRClub.co.za. And since posting it, several other employers have been asking our experts what to do with their poor performing employees. Here's Kerusha's problem.

'I have a staff member who's 56 years old. Over the past year, she's been doing less and less of what she was hired to do. She has a very negative attitude and this is impacting on our staff.

At the beginning of the year, I addressed this issue with her and she showed a slight improvement. But now, she's gone back to her problematic ways!

I've looked at the incapacity route but her health isn't so bad that she could be boarded for disability. Please advise what my other alternatives are.'

Let's look at what our experts have to say on managing poor performance and what you can do to legally show that poor performer the door...

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Here's what Kerusha should do

Because you said your employee has health problems, her ill-health may actually be the cause for the poor performance.

First, thoroughly investigate the reason for her poor performance. If the poor performance is indeed related to her ill-health, then start an incapacity poor performance process. During this process, meet with her regularly and give her reasonable assistance, guidance, counselling, instruction and evaluation.

Identify the areas of poor performance and brainstorm an action plan to address these areas with her. Give her a reasonable opportunity to improve – a rule of thumb is 3 months. Or, her doctor may give you a timeframe for her to improve, if she really is ill.

Read on to find out what to do if her poor performance has nothing to do with ill-health, so you can show your poor performer the door!

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How to show your poor performer the door

You need to find out why your employee's performance isn't up to standard.

As above, give her reasonable assistance, guidance, counselling, instruction and evaluation. And a reasonable time to improve her performance. Make sure she knows the performance standard she's supposed to meet.

If she doesn't improve, look at a reasonable alternative position, and look at all alternatives before considering dismissal.

If you do dismiss, make sure the dismissal was an appropriate sanction for not meeting the required performance standard.

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