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Eight Steps for Charities to Deal With Underperformance

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Addressing the problem of underperforming employees is critical to enable charities to achieve their wider goals. Tackling the issue swiftly and head on can help to prevent underachievers from affecting the working environment and the morale of their colleagues.

hlwKH logoOur eight-step guide, below, is designed to help forestall and deal with issues:

  1. Set clear expectations of how staff should perform and conduct themselves;
  2. Hold one-to-one meetings and appraisals to provide staff with support and training and spot problems early;
  3. Make use of probationary periods, as they should reduce notice periods;
  4. Ensure you have a disciplinary and grievance procedure in place;
  5. The legal process is the same for misconduct and performance management; have an investigation, invite the employee to a meeting (with at least 48 hours’ notice), hold a disciplinary or performance management meeting, confirm the outcome and the right to appeal in writing;
  6. The differences for performance management are that the staff member must be given the opportunity (and a reasonable period) to improve. This will depend on the individual and job role;
  7. If you are unsure whether informal or formal performance management will work, start the formal process sooner rather than later, as any informal action cannot be relied upon; and
  8. ALWAYS follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance or risk a 25% uplift on any compensation awarded at the Employment Tribunal.

As employment law is a complex, ever-changing field, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a legal practice with a sound reputation in both this area and the third sector.

Praised for its knowledge of the charity sector in the latest Legal 500 guide, hlw Keeble Hawson’s dedicated and highly experienced charities team provides specialist and comprehensive advice on key issues for charities and voluntary organisations.

For more information on employment issues, contact Charlotte Ollerenshaw at, or call 0114 290 6286.

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