When it comes to improving workplace performance, there is a fine line between improvement and doing more damage than good. In other words, ineffective performance management can decrease the level of performance in the workplace and create a level of distrust. Here are a few easy steps to take to manage underperformance and improve workplace performance.

The Only Performance Improvement Plans You’ll Need

Here is a simple step-by-step blueprint for managing underperformance in any business:

  1. Find The Problem

Before you can put any improvement plans in place, there needs to be an understanding as to why these plans are necessary in the first place.

  1. Assess And Analyse

Next, the employer will need to determine:

  • the seriousness of the problem
  • the amount of time that the problem has been a problem
  • the gap between the expected and the reality, and
  • Look also at any mitigating circumstances or things that may be happening outside of the workplace.

After identifying and assessing the problem, the employer should arrange a meeting to discuss the problem. Adequate warning of the meeting needs to be given so that the employee can prepare and they need to be told that in this meeting they are permitted to bring along a support person.

  1. Discuss The Problem

Once in a private and comfortable environment, the meeting can take place between employee and employer. The conversation should begin by explaining the problem clearly. The aim of the meeting is for the employee to understand:

  • the problem
  • why it exists
  • the impact it has on the workplace, and
  • the reason for concern.

The outcomes that the employer wishes to achieve from the meeting should also be stated.

  1. Come Up With A Solution

It is important that a solution be jointly devised where possible. If the employee contributes to the solution, they will more likely accept and act on it.

  1. Sit Back And Watch

The final step is monitoring the employee’s performance. Encouragement and feedback is important here. A follow-up meeting is also strongly recommended. You need to monitor the behaviours and give the employee opportunities and support to improve. You cant do this if you do not follow up.

Workplace Bullying

Performance improvement plans should always come with strict guidelines so that cases like Mr. Blagojevic v AGL Macquarie Pty Ltd; Mitchell Seears [2018] FWC 2906 do not happen. In this case, an experienced and long-serving employee, Mr. Blagojevic, was involved in an application for orders to prevent workplace bullying. Blagojevic was placed in a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) and this has a devastating effect on the employee and his mental health.

Something to keep in mind here, there is nothing wrong with managing performance among your employees, however, there are measures that need to be in place to make sure that no lines are crossed.


  • ensure all performance and disciplinary matters are documented;
  • provide clear instructions, training and information to employees particularly with respect to the scope of their role and expected standards; and
  • ensure that if management action is taken, it is justified and conducted in accordance with any established policies and procedures.

For more information on how to improve and manage workplace performance, check out the packages that Fresh HR has to offer. As experts in this area, they will know just what to do.