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Performance improvement process

Last reviewed on 06 February 2018

Here at Co-op we want to make sure that our colleagues are treated fairly and consistently at all times. If we have any concerns about a colleague’s performance, we’ll follow the steps below to address the issue. All template letters and forms can be found on the Intranet.

This process should be read along with the Performance improvement policy.

Informal discussions

Managers should raise any concerns they have about a colleague’s performance informally first - and should keep notes of what was discussed and agreed. If things are resolved, then managers shouldn’t keep these notes any longer.

But if the colleague’s performance doesn’t improve to the standard required, we’ll start the formal Performance Improvement Process below.

First performance improvement meeting

Managers should send the colleague a letter to invite them to a first Performance Improvement Meeting, giving them at least 48 hours’ notice (template letter PIP1 - find on the intranet).

If the colleague wants to be accompanied to the meeting by a trade union rep or another colleague, they should arrange this and let the manager know before the meeting. There’s more information on the role of the workplace representative in the Guide to Workplace Representatives.

At the meeting, we’ll give the colleague the opportunity to talk about their performance. Then we’ll discuss any performance improvements they need to make and also what support they might need. The manager will record this in a Performance Improvement Plan and give the colleague a copy.

Managers should agree a timescale with the colleague for the improvements to be made. This will depend on the type of role and the length of time the manager expects it will take to see an improvement in their performance. It’ll usually be a minimum of four weeks, although may be less than this if we believe we should be able to see an improvement sooner.

After the meeting, the colleague will be sent a Performance Improvement letter (template letter PIP3 - find on the intranet), including a copy of the agreed Performance Improvement Plan.

Rearranging performance improvement meetings

Colleagues should do their best to attend, but if they or their chosen representative can’t make it, they should tell the manager holding the meeting as soon as possible letting them know dates and times they can make and the manager will try to rearrange it for a time that works for everyone.

If the colleague doesn’t turn up for the meeting, without telling us in advance, we’ll rearrange it and write to confirm the new details using template letter PIP2.

If they don’t turn up for the rearranged meeting, we’ll deal with the matter under the Disciplinary Process – unless there are exceptional circumstances, in which case we’ll rearrange it once more.

Any rescheduled meetings will usually be within a week of the original meeting time.

Performance improvement review meetings

Colleagues will be invited to a Performance Improvement Review Meeting (template letter PIP4, template letter PIP5 to reschedule the meeting) to review their performance against their Performance Improvement Plan, giving them at least 48 hours’ notice. If there’s not sufficient improvement at the first meeting, we’ll then schedule a second review meeting – again, usually after a minimum period of four weeks, but this may be sooner.

In these meetings we’ll talk about the colleague’s performance, the steps they’ve taken to improve and the support that’s been provided. Depending on the colleague’s progress, there are two possible outcomes of each meeting:

Performance has improved to the required level

Managers should send the colleague a letter to confirm this and issue a performance improvement warning (template letter PIP6). The Performance Improvement Process will end here, but the warning will stay active for three months. This means that if the colleague’s performance level falls below the required level again during this time, they’ll re-enter the formal process at the point they left.

Performance is not at the required level

Managers should send the colleague a letter (template letter PIP7 for the first review and PIP8 for the second review) detailing the improvements they still need to make and the date agreed for the second/final review meeting.

We’ll normally confirm the outcome of any Performance Improvement Review meeting within 14 calendar days of the meeting, but if it’s likely to take longer we’ll let the colleague know (template letter PIP9).

If we think that the colleague’s performance issue is due to their conduct or attitude rather than their capability to do the role, we may decide to move to the Disciplinary Process.

Final performance improvement review meeting

If the colleague’s performance still hasn’t improved to the required standard after two Performance Improvement Review Meetings, managers should invite them to a Final Performance Improvement Review Meeting (template letter PIP11, template letter PIP12 to reschedule the meeting) giving them at least 48 hours’ notice. In the letter we’ll let them know that dismissal could be an outcome of the meeting.

Depending on the colleague’s progress, these are two possible outcomes of the meeting:

Performance has improved to the required level

Managers should send the colleague a letter to confirm this and issue a performance warning (template letter PIP6). The Performance Improvement Process will end here, but the warning will stay active for three months – so if their performance level falls below standard during this time, they’ll re-enter the formal process at the point they left.

Performance is not at the required level

We’ll usually dismiss the colleague with contractual notice and send them a letter to confirm (template letter PIP13).

In exceptional circumstances, we may give them an extension to the timescale for improvement and agree a further final review date with them. As an alternative to dismissal, we may offer the colleague the option to transfer to a lower level role or apply for a suitable vacancy, if this is appropriate.

Managers should contact ER Services for advice when considering dismissal or alternatives to dismissal.

Sickness during the performance improvement process If at any point in the Performance Improvement Process the colleague goes off sick, managers should send them a letter (PIP10) to let them know that the process has been put on hold and will restart when they return to work.

Appeal

The colleague can appeal against a performance warning – either in a letter or by completing the template Performance Improvement Appeal Form. The colleague should give the grounds for their appeal as either;

new information or evidence is available that wasn’t considered before the process wasn’t followed correctly, or they feel the outcome wasn’t fair and reasonable Colleagues should send their appeal within seven calendar days of receiving the outcome letter – but we’ll give them longer in exceptional circumstances.

Appeal meeting

The appeal meeting will be with an independent manager who’s had nothing to do with the original decision.

The appeal manager will invite the colleague to an appeal meeting (template letter PIP14), giving them at least 48 hours’ notice. This will usually be within 14 calendar days of getting the appeal letter, but we’ll let the colleague know if it’s going to take longer (template letter PIP15).

At the appeal meeting, we’ll ask the colleague to explain the reasons for their appeal and why they feel that the original outcome wasn’t appropriate. The manager will adjourn the meeting if necessary to get further evidence. If there is any further evidence, we’ll make sure the colleague is given a copy or provided access to it is and give them the opportunity to respond to it.

The appeal manager will take a colleague to the meeting with them to take notes and at the end of the meeting everyone will be asked to check and sign the notes. The manager will then adjourn the meeting while they make their decision.

Rearranging the appeal meeting

Colleagues should do their best to attend the appeal meeting, but if they or their chosen representative can’t make it, they should tell the manager holding the meeting as soon as possible letting them know dates and times they can make and the manager will try to rearrange it for a time that works for everyone.

If the colleague doesn’t turn up for the appeal meeting without telling us in advance, we’ll rearrange it and write to confirm the new details using template letter PIP16. If they don’t turn up for the rearranged meeting, we’ll consider the matter closed and write to confirm this (template letter PIP17) – unless there are exceptional circumstances, in which case we’ll rearrange it once more. Any rescheduled meetings will usually be within a week of the original meeting time.

Appeal outcomes

Once the appeal manager has reached their decision, they should confirm it to the colleague in writing. This will normally be within 14 calendar days, but if it’s going to take longer we’ll keep the colleague informed (template letter PIP18). The appeal manager may decide to:

  • Reject the appeal (template letter PIP19 - 21 - find on the intranet) – so the original decision is upheld
  • Uphold the appeal - (template letter PIP22 & 24 - find on the intranet)
  • Uphold the appeal – and overturn the dismissal (template letter PIP23 - find on the intranet) This ends the appeals process.