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Spotted an issue during Jan's most recent performance review? Use counselling to get him back on track

by , 10 April 2015
What do you do when you sit down to assess your sales rep, Jan's, performance, and find that, although he's meeting the goals you set him, the standard in which he's doing so is completely unsatisfactory?

How can you get him on back on track before it affects your company's bottom line?

Our HR experts suggest employee counselling.

Here's why...


What is employee counselling?

According to the HR experts behind the Human Resources for Managers service:  'Counselling is a discussion to clarify what your employee needs in terms of his performance or behaviour. The performance counselling session calls for you to draw on both your coaching skills and communication skills.'
But how do these chats boost your employee's performance?
Essentially, it allows you to intervene at the early stages of poor performance. This often prevents a problem from escalating and requiring more serious action further down the track. 
It also gives you a chance to determine the reason behind Jan's poor performance. 
During this process, you'll discover if, for example, it's skills-related. In this case, you can give your employee additional training or coaching to help him acquire the skills he needs to do the job.
Or maybe, you'll find there's an external problem like an issue at home. For example, your employee's poor performance could be directly linked to a drug or drinking problem or difficulties in his private life like a divorce. If this is the case, refer him to your company's Employee Assistance Programme (if applicable) or a professional counsellor. 
In addition, by holding regular performance counselling sessions, you'll be able to highlight issues and give your employee reasonable opportunity to meet the requirements of his job.
But correcting employee performance isn't the only reason these sessions are so important. 
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Remember: Employee counselling is a vital part of proving an employee can't do the job

If, after your sessions and despite your efforts, your employee's performance doesn't improve, you'll have no choice but to resort to your formal incapacity process. 
While not nice, you'll be able to prove to the CCMA (if it comes to that) that you did everything reasonably possible to ensure dismissal was fair and justified.  
For details on how to conduct performance counselling sessions, check out chapter C02 in your copy of the Human Resources for Managers service. Not a subscriber? Go here to get your hands on this invaluable tool. 

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