Posted April 23, 2018
Performance management is a sticky conversation in any workplace, but particularly so for salon owners. When one of your staff’s performance of their duties means the difference between keeping a client or loosing a client, you want to make sure that they are ontop of their game at all times.
There are 3 key steps in performance management, each with set tasks that must be completed to appropriately complete the performance management.
- Identification of the problem
- Performance Management Meeting
- Issuing Written Warnings
IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM
Salon owners need to consider both their standards for staff performance and what constitutes non-compliance with these standards as part of the Performance Management process. Ideally, standards for performance will have been communicated to staff members throughout their time in the salon, with some of these potentially outlined in your salon policies and proceedures manual.
When discussing performance or conduct it is extremely important that employers do not set expectations which could be discriminatory, unlawful or unreasonable. This might include targets which are too high or which cannot be met by your employees despite their best endeavours.
If you have provided the staff member with any kind of verbal warning, its important to have a record of this so that it can be referenced in the Performance Management Meeting.
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT MEETING
To conduct a performance management meeting, you need to advise the employee with 24-48 hours’ notice, ideally in writing, that they will be required to attend a Performance Management Meeting. You must advise them what the meeting will be about, and that they will have the opportunity to have a support person to attend the meeting with them. This support person can be either a friend, a family member, or another staff member and they must not speak on the employee’s behalf. The meeting can still go ahead even if the employee is unable to find or refuses a support person, as you legally only need to provide the opportunity to have a support person.
During the performance meeting, you need to discuss the performance issues raised and then ask the employee to respond to the issues raised. This is important as the response is key to the outcome of the meeting. If the problem is behavioural then actions should be quickly suggested. For skill or performance issues it may be necessary for more training to be implemented.
Then, at the end of the employee’s response, you must advise the employee that you will take their response into consideration and will let them know the following day the outcome of the meeting.
If the employee gives satisfactory justification or response to the Performance Management Meeting, you do not have to issue a written warning if you don’t believe it is necessary. A written warning should only be issued if the situation merits a warning, such as an unprofessional attitude or under performance. The day after the Performance Management Meeting is the only time when you can issue the employee with a written warning, as you need to consider their response BEFORE issuing a written warning. You cannot issue a written warning at the Performance Management Meeting or prior to it.
A written warning should be written carefully, including details like the time, date, the issue which is being addressed, the date of the verbal warning, the date of the performance management meeting and the agreed course of action. If you are concerned about the accuracy of writing such a warning letter, speak to the Industrial Relations experts at HABA who will be happy to provide you with a template for such a response and be able to advise members on whether or not your warning letter satisfies the legal requirements.
Once the warning letter has been provided and a reasonable amount of time has passed (1-2 weeks usually for behavioural issues, or 3-4 weeks for skill related issues), a follow up meeting should take place to discuss improvements or lack thereof. If no improvement has been made, salon owners and proceed to another warning letter and move down the path of termination. However, in many instances this series of actions can make a dramatic difference in staff performance and drive staff to being better, which is the best outcome for all involved.
If you have any concerns about your staff performance or Performance Management process, you should speak to the team at HABA. Our team of industrial relations advisors can help you to ensure that your processes follow the letter of the law, keeping you free from legal concerns through this sensitive area. Call the team on (02) 9221 9911 to get the right advice for your salon.
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