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Stage 1 Discussion and Opportunity to Improve

1. Preparation for the meeting

Firstly, you must invite the employee to the meeting.  There is a template letter for this.  Prior to the meeting, you will prepare the facts regarding the performance issues and gather details of concerns in relation to the employee’s standard of work performance. This is to ensure that accurate information is available for discussion at the meeting.

2. Discussion

At the meeting you should raise your concerns with the employee and ask for an explanation of any areas of poor performance.

At the meeting, you should complete a Performance Improvement Plan. The below template should be completed during the meeting.

Performance Improvement Plan Template

At the meeting you should:

  • Express concern over the employee’s level of performance.
  • Confirm the standards of performance expected of the employee and explain the employee’s shortcomings, with evidence provided.
  • Ask for a response which will be carefully considered by you and relevant follow up questions asked so that you has a clear understanding of the reasons for poor performance.
  • Ask the employee if they have any suggestions as to how their performance could be improved and discuss what measures could be put in place to try to bridge the gap between current and required performance, including any support and training.
  • Indicate that it is the employee’s contractual responsibility to perform to the required standard.
  • Inform the employee that it may be necessary to move the matter to Stage 2 of the procedure should their performance fail to improve over the review period set by you.

3. Performance Improvement Plan

The line manager and the employee will jointly compile a plan then agree and sign it.

The contents of the plan will normally include –

  • details of the performance issues
  • the required improvement(s) in performance
  • what support/training will be provided
  • the timescale for improvement
  • how progress will be monitored

Our advice is that you should use the SMART formula when writing up the plan:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable and Attainable

R – Relevant and Realistic

T – Time-bound

The plan will be confirmed in writing to the employee, highlighting the agreed timescale for improvement and the potential consequences of failing to meet this.  The template for this can be found below:

Summary of Stage 1 letter

4. Review Period

A review period will be set for improvement to occur for an employee at Stage 1. You will decide on the length of the review period. You will indicate the expected level of improvement in work performance for the employee to achieve during the review period.  This will be set out in the Performance Improvement Plan.

The line manager should continually monitor the employee during the review period and record what occurs on the Performance Improvement Plan under the weekly reviews.  It is recommended that the line manager and employee meet on a weekly basis to discuss progress.

5. Outcome of the Review Period

You should consider the employee’s performance during the review period before determining an appropriate course of action. At the end of the review period you will invite the employee to a follow up meeting to discuss their standard of work performance during the review period.  There is a template letter for this below:

Invite to Stage 1 Review Letter

There are 2 possible outcomes following the review period:

Outcome 1:  Where there is a significant improvement in the employee’s work performance, they move out of the procedure and normal monitoring of their performance applies.  For this, send the outcome letter below:

Outcome of Stage 1 – successful Letter

Outcome 2:  Where the employee has not achieved a significant improvement in their standard of work performance within the set timescale the matter is progressed to Stage 2.

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