How we’ll manage performance issues after a probationary period.

Here at Co-op, we hope that you’ll always perform well in your job and meet the high standards we expect. But if your performance falls below our expectations, we’ll address any issues with you in a fair and supportive way, to help you improve and maintain your level of performance. This Policy should be read along with the performance improvement process, which sets out the steps we’ll take to help you improve your performance.

Crucial bits

The Performance Improvement Policy applies to all colleagues, including if you’re on a fixed-term contract, after you’ve successfully completed your probationary period, including any required training/development period.

The process we’ll follow to review and address any concerns about your performance during your probationary period can be found in the probationary period review process.

If you receive a performance rating of ‘unacceptable’ at any point (either at your mid-year or end of year review) then your manager must contact ER Services for advice on how to support you in improving your performance. Following this they’ll discuss with you how the actions will be managed.

Informal discussions

Wherever we can, we’ll try to resolve performance issues informally. If your manager has any concerns about your performance, they’ll raise this with you during a regular 1-2-1 or a performance review meeting, or they may set up a meeting with you just to talk about it.

Your manager will explain their concerns and discuss and agree with you the steps you need to take to improve your performance. They’ll make a record so you can both remember what you’ve discussed and agreed. Ask your manager questions if you’re not clear about what or how you need to improve and let them know if there’s anything you need from them.

Formal meetings

If things don’t improve, we’ll need to move into the formal performance improvement process. Before starting the formal process, your manager will make sure that:

  • You know what’s expected of you and that this is realistic
  • You’ve had the level of training, advice and support you need to do your job
  • The volume of work you’re being given is reasonable
  • You have the equipment, resources and right working conditions to do your job
  • There are no underlying medical conditions that are causing your performance to suffer
  • As part of the Performance Improvement Process, you’ll be invited to some formal meetings to talk about your performance

You’ll always get at least 48 hours’ notice in writing of any performance improvement meeting – and in some cases it may be longer than this. We expect you to do your best to attend, but if you or your chosen representative can’t make it, speak to your manager as soon as possible letting them know dates and times you can make and they’ll try to rearrange it for a time that works for everyone.

You can have either a work colleague or a trade union representative come with you to any formal performance improvement meeting. There’s more information about the role of workplace representatives in the guide to workplace representatives.

The performance improvement process contains details of the possible outcomes of each formal meeting. You should be aware that if your performance doesn’t improve throughout this series of meetings, the final outcome could be dismissal.

Any performance warnings will stay active for three months, so if your performance drops again in that time, we’ll start the process again at the point you left. If your performance drops again outside this timescale, but you’ve demonstrated that you’re capable of performing well and there have been no significant changes to your role, we may deal with this as a conduct issue under the disciplinary policy.


You’ll always be given the right to appeal any performance warning. This’ll be explained in the outcome letter and will tell you who to address your appeal to. You need to appeal within seven calendar days of getting your outcome letter, but we’ll give you longer in exceptional circumstances.

There’s more information about this in the appeals section of the performance improvement process.

Things to think about

Medical conditions

If a medical condition or disability may be affecting your performance at work, talk to your manager so they understand the issue and they’ll look at how they can support you. This might include referring you for an occupational health assessment, so we can find out more about your condition and how it may affect you at work and whether there are any work adjustments we could make that may help.

If so your manager will complete a work adjustments form (below) with you and then put in place any agreed adjustments. They will then allow time for these to take effect before reviewing your performance again. There’s more information about making work adjustments in the guide to reasonable adjustments.

Extreme underperformance

In exceptional circumstances, if your underperformance is so extreme that it puts the Co-op at significant risk – such as if it endangers health and safety – and is due to incompetence rather than negligence or conduct, we may start the performance improvement process at any stage. This could include the final stage.

If we decide that it’s not appropriate for you to carry on with your current role while things are fully investigated, we might ask you to take on alternative duties or suspend you on full pay if this isn’t possible. Just so it’s clear, suspension isn’t a sanction and it doesn’t mean we’ve made a decision about anything.

Impact of performance

If we have concerns about your performance which we’re dealing with through the performance improvement process, your manager will take this into consideration during any annual performance discussions and in any formal performance rating you’re given. Just so you know, this may impact on any annual salary review increases and potential annual bonus/incentive scheme payments.

If you need further support

If you have any questions about the performance improvement policy or process or about the performance standards expected of you, speak to your manager. Managers should read the performance improvement process and then if they need further advice contact ER Services on 0330 606 1001 or email

Remember we have an employee assistance programme (EAP) who can provide colleagues with support. You can contact the EAP on 0800 069 8854. It’s independent and totally confidential. And there’s no charge for Co-op colleagues.