One of the most talked about aspects of the Fair Work Act is the unfair dismissal changes. They apply to all businesses although some concessions are made for small businesses. Unfair dismissal claims may include the circumstance where the dismissal was for reasons of performance related (poor performance) issues.
Complying with the law
The law states that dismissals, when they occur, need to be, “not harsh, unjust or unreasonable “. It outlines guidelines for compliance that include:
- A process for setting performance expectations and reviewing staff performance.
- A clear warning that performance is below standard and needs to be improved.
- Time to improve performance and training to support improvement (where appropriate)
- Documentation of discussions, warnings and agreed action steps to improve performance.
Thriving instead of just complying
To some, these guidelines appear onerous. However, the irony is that this list of practices actually includes some of the key drivers of individual engagement and performance. Organisations that implement many of the guidelines can actually reap many benefits far beyond simple compliance.
People thrive in cultures where they:
- Understand how they contribute to the broader organisational goals
- Have clarity regarding performance expectations and individual goals
- Receive timely, positive feedback as well as constructive feedback for improvement
- Participate in a regular formal process to plan and review their performance and development
These are best practice performance management principles. Those organisations that embrace these practices and implement them with a view to improving their employee engagement, will not only comply with the new legislation but accelerate the participation, engagement and performance of their people.