Discipline for under performance?

Discipline for under performance?

September 7, 2015

Here’s a question posted on social media today that caught my eye.

“If a staff member consistently wasn’t completing their paperwork for their key children and other tasks and there are always discussions with this member of staff about stuff not being completed or followed through, would any of you go down the disciplinary route? If so how would you go about it?”

This is a very good question and concerns whether we should formally performance manage the staff we employ and if so how.

The start of any performance management goes back to recruitment and what you told your candidates that the role would involve.  You will have prepared a job description for the post when it was a vacancy, and the candidate should have seen the job description and ideally been given a copy.  Remember: Your Job Description is Your Best Friend. This is a very important principle in performance management. If you haven’t described the role to the new starter, how do they have a chance of undertaking the role in full?. They are just going to turn to you and say, really? I didn’t know I had to do that? So in the case above, the first question would be; “Is there a job description and does it have clear expectations about what tasks the employee is going to be responsible for undertaking?”

After establishing that the role does expect the post holder to undertake these tasks, the second stage, would be “Does the post holder know they are not doing these tasks as you require them done?”  Have you had an informal chat with the post holder, explaining what you see happening and what you want to see happening? This conversation is where you should be listening twice as much as you talk. It’s now the post holder may tell you why these tasks aren’t be undertaken; Do they need more training?, Do they have a condition which prevents them from undertaking them effectively?, Were they confused as to what you want and how you want it? You document this conversation as a ‘file note’ (more about these in one of our first podcasts on our iTunes channel ‘HR for Early Years’).

If after this stage you don’t see the improvement you need then your choice is either formal disciplinary or formal capability routes in performance management.

A formal disciplinary will follow your Disciplinary Procedure and will be most effective in situations when you have identified that someone is deliberately not doing a task they could do. A formal capability will follow your Capability Procedure and will be most effective in situations when you determine that someone can’t perform the task effectively.  Both formal processes can lead to a fair dismissal in the future.

If you don’t have a Capability Procedure in your setting, I really would recommend you to use them. You can buy our procedure from our ecommerce site and it is especially written for Day Nurseries, Pre Schools and Out of Hours Clubs. It costs just £9.99.

We hope this blog helps, and if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to comment or email us on or phone us on 01527 909436

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