The benefits of an informal approach
Poor performance and misconduct can have a significant and sometimes serious effect on businesses. The most common results of which, if not addressed early enough, is reduced productivity, poor quality of work and potential impact on company performance and hence profitability. We witness so often that when concerns are not addressed early enough they can become more difficult to tackle at a later date.
The Acas Code of Conduct advocates the informal route when addressing minor concerns employers have with their staffs conduct or performance.
The benefits of adopting the informal approach are:
- Less bureaucratic and time consuming.
- Such an approach often has the desired positive effect.
- No need for a representative (as a witness) at informal meeting.
- Should help to foster better employee relations in the workplace.
Where an individual's performance is starting to show signs of deteriorating or misconduct is relatively minor in nature, it may be appropriate to give clear feedback that such performance or behaviour is not acceptable and explain what improvement is required. Such conversations should be conducted privately and we would recommend making a short diary note of the conversation that took place.
Where the informal approach is having little or no effect or where there is a further deterioration in performance or behaviour, a more formal approach should be adopted. Most employers have formal procedures in place for managing discipline in the workplace. Where such procedures are not in existence, there is still an obligation on them to follow the Acas Code of Practice when issuing formal warnings and certainly when they are considering dismissal.
In circumstances where employers are not aware of their responsibilities when handling disciplinary issues in the workplace they are well advised to seek professional advice when contemplating disciplining staff.