In this final part of our managing poor performance series, we look at three of the most common issues and related questions that arise when undertaking performance management of an employee.
The support person
What is the role of the support person?
The role of the support person is to be a witness and provide moral support for the employee.
The role of the support person is not to represent or advocate for the employee. This means they should not speak on behalf of the employee or answer questions on behalf of the employee. They should also not express any opinions they may have on the issues being discussed.
Can the support person speak during the meeting?
Yes. The support person may ask the employee whether they have understood what you have said to them or whether the employee has any questions for you.
Alternatively, the support person may remain silent throughout the meeting and just be a witness to the meeting or be there simply to provide moral support for the employee.
Can a union delegate or official be a support person?
Yes. The role of the support person does not change if they are a union delegate or official.
Recording the meeting
Should I take notes during the meeting?
Yes, contemporaneous notes taken during or immediately after a meeting are valuable records. Written notes can be relied upon should disciplinary action or termination of employment occur and later be challenged e.g. in an unfair dismissal. Greater weight will be given to written notes than to verbal recollections, as people’s memories can often be faulty, particularly if some time has passed.
Who should take notes during the meeting?
All parties in a meeting should take notes. However, if you find it difficult to talk and take notes at the same time, you may wish to delegate note taking to another manager or Human Resources personnel.
The employee and their support person may also take written notes.
Can I record the meeting electronically?
If you wish to record the meeting electronically, you will need express verbal consent from all of the people present in the meeting. Ideally, you should record everyone’s agreement on the recording device at the start of the meeting.
DO NOT record a meeting covertly as you may be in breach of surveillance legislation. Further, it is highly unlikely you will be allowed to rely on a secret recording of a meeting in any disputes or termination cases.
If you find out the employee or their support person have recorded the meeting without your knowledge and agreement, you may be able to take disciplinary action against the employee for such actions. Further, they will not be able to rely on the recording in any disputes or termination cases.
After the Performance Meeting
Your post meeting actions are as follows:
- Complete any notes taken during the meeting and place them in the employee’s file.
- Write to the employee (this may be in the form of a warning letter) confirming what was discussed in the performance meeting. Importantly, this letter should refer to the employee’s responses during the meeting.
- Monitor the employee’s performance. If they do not improve, meet with them again and go through the disciplinary process.
Article by Ni Gao
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended to be a guide only and should not replace specialist advice.