Employment law does not prevent performance management

If I had a penny for every time a manager told me that employment law prevented them from managing their staff, I would be so rich I wouldn’t need to work.

Most of the problems we deal with on our hotline stem from a failure to properly manage performance.  Whether it is ‘bullying’ or problems in managing maternity leave, selection for redundancy, even half the discrimination problems we get – they all stem from a failure to:

  • Design jobs people can succeed in
  • Recruit people with the right skills
  • Set achievable goals within that job
  • Adequately resource for success
  • Monitor performance and feedback
  • Adjust course where needed

When we talk to employees within teams we find them saying – management won’t touch x person because they are protected by discrimination law, management don’t tackle poor performance early enough or clearly enough.

The managers say employment law stops them doing this.

Employment law is not that tricky if you know what you are doing.  Some organisations are cursed with the ‘employee from hell’ but most are not.   You don’t have to wait until you can’t stand it any more and then try to shoe horn ‘employment law’ into a last minute dash towards dismissal (with the replacement waiting in the wings).  You can integrate the basics into a simple performance management system.

If you are struggling with manage your team (or an individual)  and thinking “if employment law didn’t exist I’d…………….”  now is the perfect time to start working on that problem.

Employment law is not going to stop you managing poor performance in your business if you know what you are doing.

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy. Tel: 08452 303050 Fax: 08452 303060 Website : www.irenicon.co.uk. You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye


Filed under employment law, performance management

2 responses to “Employment law does not prevent performance management

  1. A great article Annabel and well worth saying. As an executive coach I encounter the same reluctance all the time. The ‘uproar’ from some quarters regarding the latest retirement age legislation is a further indication of this. Failing to manage performance properly can lead to the unethical treatment of people and wasted potential since they are not given the development or opportunity to perform well!

  2. Great blog. You make some great points. I have experienced similar behaviours with clients I have worked with over the years.

    I often think the managers are the issue and many managers are not the right people for the job. I will give you an example. From my days in the bank, very often the top performing sales people where then promoted to managers, I don’t personally believe that is always the correct approach. As well all know excellent seller rarely means, excellent sales manager.

    I think this echoes your point about recruiting people with the right skills. I have worked with many companies on the recruitment side of things. I have had to have conversations with many MD’s and hiring authorities about the type of people they need. It’s surprising how many aim to recruit “mini-me’s” without assessing the actual skills that are needed.

    I have found very often it’s a case of building a team around the weaknesses / skill shortages of the business. As you hint at here though, often people just don’t have sufficient performance management tools in place to monitor.

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