Managing employee performance

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EmployerEmployee / worker

The information on this page applies only to employers and employees in the WA state industrial relations system. The state system covers businesses which operate as sole traders, unincorporated partnerships, unincorporated trust arrangements as well as any incorporated associations or not for profit bodies that are not trading or financial corporations. The Guide to who is in the WA State System has more detail.

This information does not apply to any business which operates as a Pty Ltd business and is a trading or financial corporation nor to any incorporated association or not for profit body that is a trading or financial corporation. These businesses and organisations are in the national fair work system and should visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for information on employment laws.

Poor work performance by an employee

When an employee’s work performance is not meeting the required standard, action to help the employee improve their performance must be taken. Best practice includes:

  • providing the employee an opportunity to give their point of view and provide reasons for the underperformance
  • checking that the employee understands the required work standards
  • providing additional training if needed
  • considering work adjustments in response to issues raised by the employee, for example flexible or reduced hours to deal with personal or family commitments
  • monitoring employee performance more closely and giving more frequent feedback
  • allowing the employee a reasonable amount of time to improve and
  • clearly communicating the possible consequences of not reaching the required performance standard.

Are three warnings required?

No, but it is good practice for the employee to be warned that failure to reach the required work standard could result in termination.

Employers should ensure that discussions about performance standards are documented so it can be demonstrated that genuine attempts were made to assist the employee to improve – provide copies to the employee.  

What if an employee does something seriously wrong?

Serious misconduct is different to poor work performance. Serious misconduct is behaviour that could damage the employer’s business, or is inconsistent with the employment contract – for example, causing a serious safety risk, committing theft, fraud or assault, or being intoxicated at work.

In cases of serious misconduct it is up to the employer to decide if they will dismiss the person immediately or give them another chance. Employers are not required to give notice in the case of serious misconduct.


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