Introduction to this document

Notice of performance review meeting

It’s possible to deal with performance issues through your disciplinary procedure. However, where the issue is one of “can’t perform” (due to lack of capability) as opposed to “won’t perform” (for example, because of negative attitude problems or laziness), then you might opt for a performance review procedure which is aimed at assisting the employee to improve their performance, rather than seeking to attach blame.

A fair capability dismissal

It’s a potentially fair reason to dismiss an employee for poor work performance due to lack of capability, provided a proper procedure is followed which is fair and reasonable in all the circumstances and you act reasonably in treating the employee’s poor performance as a sufficient reason to dismiss them. As part of your investigation, you should seek to establish why the employee is not performing properly, for example, have they been properly trained? Are they being correctly supervised? Are they aware of what exactly you require of them? Do they have the proper equipment and facilities? Is the issue really one relating to the employee’s poor health or could it be down to problematic working relationships? Could the matter be better dealt with by informal coaching or counselling at this stage?

A performance review

The next step is to write to the employee formally setting up a meeting to review their performance. This is very similar to the style and format of a disciplinary hearing, except that you are not making allegations against the employee. Rather you are listing the aspects of the employee’s performance which are not up to scratch, setting these against your required standards and providing any documentary or other evidence to support your assertions, for example billing figures or target sheets.

Use our Notice of Performance Review Meeting to arrange your meeting with your employee and to explain to them what their rights are.

The meeting

At the performance review meeting itself, you should explain the required standard of performance expected for each task or duty, explain in detail the aspects of the employee’s performance which fall short of the required standards, allow the employee an opportunity to explain why they are performing at a level which is below the required standards and to put forward any mitigating factors or other circumstances that may have detrimentally affected their performance. You should also offer training, either internally or externally, and other assistance to help the employee improve. After the meeting, you can then consider all the facts and take a balanced decision on whether or not the employee does have a performance problem that needs addressing.