Performance management requires a significant commitment of time and energy on the part of the employer and it can be difficult convincing managers to buy into it. However, it is fundamental for three reasons: first, meaningful performance management helps encourage high-performing employees. Second, the employee with the performance issues might actually improve, which is ideal for everyone. Third, if the employee does not improve, the employer will have a detailed account of the ways in which it attempted to provide the training and support to increase the employee’s performance to the level required by the employer.
Progressive discipline is a separate, but not unrelated issue. It also requires significant commitment from the employer and buy-in from management. It can be used as a tool to, ideally, remediate poor performance or behaviour but it is also often “required” before an employee can be terminated, particularly for poor performance. Delivering effective and consistent progressive discipline can help reform the “underperformer” and justify the termination of those who just won’t improve.