Carey Olsen seminar explores getting the best employee performance

Posted: 18/06/2013

Mark Dunster,Rachel Richardson and Elaine Gray
Carey Olsen's employment team advised managers and HR professionals on the best practice procedures for managing capability issues in the workplace at a seminar earlier this month.

Delegates heard from Advocate Elaine Gray and senior associate Rachel Richardson who outlined the key issues surrounding capability, performance and absence through ill health.

Ms Richardson stressed that there may be 'innocent' causes of unsatisfactory performance through no fault of the employee.

"Performance issues can arise due to insufficient training, poor work systems a lack of appropriate equipment and/or ill health. It is therefore important for employers to conduct full investigations into the reasons behind any lack of capability before formal action is taken so that the employer can then take steps to address any such issues," she said.

Advocate Gray said: “When dealing with poor performance, employers should act swiftly, follow a fair process, keep accurate records of meetings and be sensitive to the feelings of the employee so that if a claim is brought the organisation is better able to defend itself."

Employers could deal with performance-related issues through training, counselling, shadowing and, potentially, moving the employee into a different role.

When dealing with capability issues brought about by ill health Ms Richardson noted that, according to the UK Office for National Statistics, an estimated 131 million working days were lost to sick leave in 2011.

"If ill health has caused an employee to be absent from work for a lengthy period, employers should actively monitor the employee's prognosis during their absence and understand what they will be capable of and when they return to work.

“The absence of an employee has to be considered against the organisation's business objectives and needs. If the employee is deemed incapable of fulfilling the role, and there are no suitable alternative roles then, as a last resort, it may be appropriate to dismiss the employee."

Carey Olsen continues its employment seminar series with a seminar on 4 July on family-friendly rights. To attend please contact

Picture caption (left to right): Carey Olsen partner, Mark Dunster, senior associate, Rachel Richardson, and of counsel, Elaine Gray.

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