Discussions online… Performance issues with new staff

Q A new recruit was hired on a seven-month, fixed-term contract as a student sandwich placement. Five weeks into his employment, it has become apparent that he has some serious issues, including timekeeping and general poor performance. Having tackled these issues on a weekly basis with little improvement, I want to consider terminating his contract.

What steps do I need to take? As he is on a fixed-term contract, does it have to be a full procedure? He is a single father and is also from an ethnic minority. How should these factors be taken into consideration?
A You need to demonstrate that you have tried to manage his performance and improve matters by having regular meetings and documenting everything – including progress on improvement or lack of it. As a single father, perhaps he has childcare problems that you may be able to assist with (for example, by offering flexible working).

A The real problem is the wording of your fixed-term contract. If it does not have termination provisions, then you must work at getting him up to speed, because you are locked in. If you have termination provisions then work at improvement/correction so that he and an employment tribunal would be able to evidence the problems and your efforts to effect improvement.

A You need to follow your company procedure or the ones from Acas. Always document the issues. I have found the best way is to agree an action plan with the following headings: the issue; what needs to happen to resolve it (goals); support from whom; and timescales to improve.

Set some immediate, short- and long-term timescales and goals. Then put in place the support and stick to the timescales (with face-to-face meetings). If there isn’t any improvement, then you will have evidence.

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