Performance Improvement Cycle

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02/02/18 Free Law Essays Reference this

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Performance improvement is the concept of measuring the output of a particular process or procedure, then modifying the process or procedure to increase the output, increase efficiency, or increase the effectiveness of the process or procedure. The concept of performance improvement can be applied to either individual performance such as an athlete or organizational performance such as a racing team or a commercial enterprise.

In OrganizationalHYPERLINK “” development, performance improvement is the concept of organizational change in which the managers and governing body of an organization put into place and manage a program which measures the current level of performance of the organization and then generates ideas for modifying organizationalHYPERLINK “” behavior and infrastructure which are put into place to achieve higher output. The primary goals of organizational improvement are to increase organizational effectiveness and efficiency to improve the ability of the organization to deliver goods and or services. A third area sometimes targeted for improvement is organizational efficacy, which involves the process of setting organizational goals and objectives.

Performance Defined:

Performance is a measure of the results achieved. Performance efficiency is the ratio between effort expended and results achieved. The difference between current performance and the theoretical performance limit is the performance improvement zone.

Performance is an abstract concept and must be represented by concrete, measurable phenomena or events to be measured. Baseball athlete performance is abstract covering many different types of activities. Batting average is a concrete measure of a particular performance attribute for a particular game role, batting, for the game of baseball.


Performance improvement can occur at different levels:

a) an individual performer b) a team

c) an organizational unit d) the organization itself


Business performance management and improvement can be thought of as a cycle:

Performance Planning where goals and objectives are established

Performance Coaching where a manager intervenes to give feedback and adjust performance

Performance appraisal where individual performance is formally documented and feedback delivered

Defining benchmarking objectives;


A poor performance is usually something you see in amateur theatre – not in the workplace!

Many employers – if not most – confuse poor performance with negligence, incapacity and even misconduct. This is because of a lack of understanding of the clear distinctions that separate the various conditions – in other words, the employer does not know what the charge should be. He only knows that what is happening is unacceptable to him, and the employee must be dismissed as quickly as possible.

The result of this uninformed action is that the employee is charged with negligence, poor performance, incapacity, misconduct and, as if that is not enough, the charge sheet also states that the trust relationship has irretrievably broken down and that the employment relationship has become intolerable.

The poor employee goes into a cold sweat, is so stressed about all this that he does not even prepare a defense, and in fact has not the faintest idea what he is being charged with, nor even why he is being charged.

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Poor Performance looks at whether the job, which the employee is being paid to do, is being done properly.

Therefore, in establishing whether poor performance exists, one must ask the following questions in relation to the employee and the job :

[a] is the output sufficient?

[b] is the quality acceptable?

[c] are company operating procedures being followed?

[d] are costs kept within budget or is the amount of rejects unacceptably high?

[e] is the effort put in by the employee sufficient?

[f] Is it perhaps inability to do the job at the required level – can the employee perform satisfactorily at a lower level?

[g] is just plain incompetence? I.e. not insufficient effort, but a clearly a lack of ability to do the job?

[h] is it carelessness – lack of attention to detail?

[i]  is it a form of negligence but not misconduct? In other words “I don’t care.”

Now, before I go any further, must clearly understand that the employer must ensure that the employee is fully aware of the Company Standards for the job, and that the employee is fully trained to do the job. The employee cannot meet standards of quality and quantity when those standards have never been communicated to him/her, and likewise the employee cannot perform if no training has been given

Based on all this, the final outcome is that the employee is dismissed, he/she goes to a labour lawyer or consultant, who, upon hearing the facts laughs gleefully and sends the employer an invitation to have tea at the CCMA and bring along his cheque book!!


The first step is to hold a meeting (an informal affair) with the employee. Explain where the employee is falling short, what standard is not being met, and discuss the matter fully to see if the reason for the poor performance can be established.

It may be a domestic crisis that the employee has (pending divorce, sick child, financial problem, etc) or it may even be a work related problem, such as a supervisor who is victimizing the employee, harassing the employee in some way, and so on.

The important thing is to establish to cause – if we don’t know the cause, we cannot treat the problem. Treating the symptoms is a useless exercise – the problem will not go away unless we treat the cause. Whatever the cause, we should try to find a mutually acceptable way of dealing with it – it may be training that is required, it may be that we have to refer the employee to an outside body such as the Dept of Social Welfare, a good divorce lawyer, and so on. Perhaps we shall have to assist the employee financially, or help them obtain a loan from a financial institution, But it is vitally important that all the proceedings are recorded in detail. These records will be required if we eventually have to dismiss the employee and the matter is taken up with the CCMA. We shall have to prove that correct and fair procedures were followed, and we need written records to do this. Remember that in a case of unfair dismissal, the employee only has to prove that a dismissal took place. The employer must prove the fairness of the dismissal.

At the end of the counseling session, the employee must be warned of the consequences of failure to improve where such warning is appropriate.

Bear in mind that the aim of the counseling session is not to punish the employee, but to assist him/her to recognize and overcome the problem.

It will depend on many factors, such as length of service, how long has the employee been doing the job before he/she started screwing up, the nature of the job, the extent of the employee’s willingness to co-operate and help solve the problem, what effect  the poor performance has had on the Company, and of course the nature of the poor performance itself.

For example, if it is a vital function that is not being done, then that is serious – immediate improvement is required. In the counseling session, we must be specific – it is not acceptable to state that the employee is “not making the grade” or “is not doing the job properly.”

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The specific problem area must be defined and discussed in detail. It is no good telling the employee to “pull his socks up” or “get his act together.”

Generally speaking, and considering all the facts of the matter, we should spend as much time as is reasonably expected to show that the employee was afforded all reasonable opportunity to rectify the matter. Obviously, if the poor performance is causing major operational problems, we shall have to inform the employee that he has only a limited amount of time to rectify the matter before action is taken.

The best way is frequent and firm counseling – make it quite plain what standard is required (as if he does not already know) and by when. Set deadlines, and inform him in writing what the consequences will be is there is no improvement.

What if the poor performance is caused because the employee was promoted, but later found that he can’t handle the job?

The bottom line is that clearly, the problem is incapacity, and equally clearly, the employer has no obligation to continue with a non-performing working relationship with this employee.

That is the “tough bottom line.”


Disciplinary and grievance procedures provide a clear and transparent framework to deal with difficulties which may arise as part of the working relationship from either the employer’s or employee’s perspective.

They are necessary to ensure that everybody is treated in the same way in similar circumstances, to ensure issues are dealt with fairly and reasonably, and that employers are compliant with current legislation and follow the Code of Practice for handling disciplinary and grievance issues

Disciplinary Procedures are needed:

So employees know what is expected of them in terms of standards of performance or conduct (and the likely consequences of continued failure to meet these standards).

To identify obstacles to individuals achieving the required standards (for example training needs, lack of clarity of job requirements, additional support needed) and take appropriate action.

As an opportunity to agree suitable goals and timescales for improvement in an individual’s performance or conduct.

To try to resolve matters without recourse to an employment tribunal.

As a point of reference for an employment tribunal should someone make a complaint about the way they have been dismissed?

Grievance procedures are needed:

To provide individuals with a course of action should they have a complaint (which they are unable to resolve through regular communication with their line manager).

To provide points of contact and timescales to resolve issues of concern.

To try to resolve matters without recourse to an employment tribunal.


1) Keep your team informed about current procedures

Make sure they have up-to-date copies of your organization’s disciplinary and grievance procedures and remind them of these from time to time.

2) Action disciplinary and grievance procedures with minimum delay

Act promptly to prevent the situation getting out of hand and causing damage to your organization or the people concerned.

3) Act in accordance with legal and organizational requirements

Check, with a specialist if necessary, both the legal situation and your organization’s procedures.

4) Ask for advice

Where appropriate, ask a specialist, your line manager or colleagues for confidential advice on how to deal effectively with these difficult situations, especially where legal and organizational requirements conflict.

5) Involve a third party

Where appropriate, ask a third party (a specialist, senior manager or colleague) to become involved to ensure you implement the procedures fairly and impartially.

6) Keep accurate and complete records

Make detailed notes of the whole proceedings and, where appropriate, copy these to the people concerned and to specialists.

7) Monitor the situation

Keep an eye on the situation to ensure that the problems which triggered the implementation of disciplinary or grievance procedures do not re-emerge.

8) Learn from your experience

Use the experience to help you, and members of your team, avoid the problems or to resolve them quickly in the future.

9) Recommend any improvements to the procedures

Tell the appropriate people of any ways in which the procedures could be improved.


In essence grievance procedures are similar to disciplinary procedures. The legal minimum is a three-step procedure; a written statement, a meeting, and an appeal meeting, if necessary. The written statement should be produced by the employee who has the grievance and handed to the person indicated in the procedure. If past written statements have not been acted upon (there are time limits for this) or the person that the employee has the problem with is the person who should accept the statement, then it should be passed to a human resources manager, and failing that, the owner of the business.

As with disciplinary meetings, as part of a worker’s rights, an employee is allowed to be accompanied, either by another member of staff, or a union representative if they are a union member, and can take whatever notes they want. The purpose of the meeting is to firstly establish exactly what has happened and, hopefully, get agreement on those facts. Then the employee should detail what it has meant to them and why they have a grievance about the situation. Finally, and again hopefully, an agreement will be arrived at as to how the problem can be resolved.

If the employee is not happy about the outcome of the meeting they have a right of appeal. At the appeal, which would follow much the same format of the previous meeting, the employee can outline their reasons for disagreeing with the decisions taken by the employer at the first meeting.

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What Can We Do If the Dispute is Left Unresolved?

With both disciplinary and grievance procedures if an agreement still can’t be reached after the appeal process, then the next step will have to be taking the dispute to mediation, conciliation, arbitration or an employment tribunal.

In relation to the study on performance, disciplinary grievance procedures, it can be seen that by improving the performance under the organizational objectives & regulation with code of conducts will leads to the improvement of the personality as well as prosperity of organization.

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