It is the employee’s duty to get the job done despite what may be classified as genuine obstacles. These obstacles can relate to health and in particular HIV/AIDS related issues that impact on performance but do not necessarily have dire consequences that can be incapacitating. Other issues might be transport problems, family problems and similar.
Deadlines are missed for whatever reason and the delay cannot be attributed to the employer. The computers being off line, machinery not operating, the motor vehicle to be used is broken and so on are employer’s problems and cannot be blamed on the employee. Where however the employee is to blame then the onus is on the employee to get the work up to date in his/her own time.
In this instance management needs to take corrective action to address the problem. There are guidelines laid down in the Labour Relations Act that deal with the whole issue of poor performance.
It is worth bearing in mind that the first indication of most workplace related problems would be in the area of performance. Demotivation, unhappiness and managerial conflict will normally reflect in the area of performance first. The problem is that many managers do not act swiftly enough to address the problem when it is first identified. No action is taken and eventually a disciplinary hearing is called. Could the problem have been addressed earlier and more amicably?
The labour relations act sets out clear guidelines for dealing with misconduct and all of the steps outlined will also apply to work performance. However there are some other considerations that need to be taken into account.
The employee must have been given appropriate evaluation, instruction, training and guidance. This can only be done if management identify the area of poor performance and act on it timeously.
The employee must be given time for correction and to meet the required standard.
Management must consider ways short of dismissal to rectify the poor performance problem.
The performance standard set must be fair and reasonable
Finally management must prove that the employee failed to meet the required standard.
It is important to analyse carefully the reason for the poor performance and to deal with the cause and not the problem itself. Once the cause has been identified then the correct action can be taken. This should initially be done by means of counselling sessions. However should there be no improvement then disciplinary action might be required.
Investigate the cause of the problem and the impact it is having on the company and deal with it accordingly.
Des Squire (Managing member)
AMSI and ASSOCIATES cc