People Performance Management – Dealing with Performance

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Dealing with Performance

People performance management is one of the most important and critical functions for a business owner or a manager.

Most of the times, in order to to operate a restaurant, café, coffee shop or any other hospitality establishment, it requires a number of people who will work as team to the highest possible standard to achieve the business objectives set in all areas.

This will only happen if their performance is managed successfully, which includes providing them with the right tools, skills and support to bring the best outcomes to their role.

Setting SMART targets is crucial for every leader in order to guide their team to the right direction, motivate them to bring in their best potential and finally manage to meet the business objectives set.

5 basic principles for Performance Measurement

People performance must be measured in order to identify the level of progress achieved in any of the tasks each individual is assigned with or the processes which the team is expected to achieve as a whole.  

Therefore, people performance management methods should be implemented and they need to meet the following 5 basic requirements:

  1. The members of the team from all levels should have some involvement and be in agreement with the type of information and data used in each method.
  2. The people who will perform the performance measurement need to have the right skills and relevant training to complete this action, which needs to take place in set periods of time (monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.)
  3. An intervention needs to take place at an early stage, when a difference between the actual and the expected performance has been identified, in order to take any corrective action to set everything back on track, if possible.
  4. All the performance measurement reviews and records need to be available in order to be used for referral and future planning.
  5. The communication between all people involved in performance measurement needs to be at good levels, in order to achieve the best possible level of engagement and sharing of information.

Measure performance by setting KPIs

As a business, you need to have an appraisal system in place, which will support you in monitoring performance, offer feedback to your staff and set their SMART targets for the following period, which should come in the form of KPIs.

Setting KPIs will give you the opportunity to monitor performance against something specific and be able to identify signs of under-performance.

You also give the opportunity to your team members to work towards achieving something actual and specific rather than setting broad and generic targets.

Setting and monitoring performance based on KPIs will benefit you and your business in the following areas:

  • You will be able to identify the real cause of any issue at an early stage, which will give you the opportunity to make all the necessary improvements on time.
  • You will track progress on every specific business area for each individual team member, on real time.
  • This will help your business to meet its objectives and manage to have a healthy and strong presence against the competition in the market.

Dealing with Underperformance and Misconduct

Firstly, it is very important to understand the difference between under-performance and misconduct.


is the standard of work which is not meeting the basic expectations and standards. It usually happens unintentionally and includes poor work quality, low levels of productivity and results.


This is different than under-performance. Misconduct is any intentional or negligent conduct, which can include bad behaviour and attitude in the workplace, lateness or absence from work, theft, violence, fraud and breach of company’s policies and procedures.

Misconduct is usually dealt through a disciplinary action against the individual and the stages of the action are set by the disciplinary policy each business has.

Possible causes of under-performance

In order to deal with under-performance, the first step I to identify the possible causes of it. There is a number of areas you need to check in order to reach to a conclusion:

  • Expectations are not clearly set and the person does not exactly know what is actually expected from them.
  • Workload level is too high for the specific person.
  • Constructive feedback is not provided regularly.
  • They have not received the required and relevant training for the specific tasks.
  •  Communication between the management team and the team member is poor.
  • The team members self-confidence and motivation regarding the job are at a low level.
  • Personal problems outside the work prevent them from performing to the expected level.
  • There is lack of rewards and recognition for high-performing team members.
  • The team member does not realise that they are under-performing.
  • The team member is not willing to meet the expected levels of performance.

Use a Personal Improvement Plan (PIP) to deal with underperformance

A Personal Improvement Plan known as PIP is a great tool to deal and manage under-performance.

It is an action plan which identifies specific areas which the team member is not meeting the expected standards and sets the way for them to improve themselves and their performance by setting specific SMART targets.

In order to write a Personal Improvement Plan (PIP), you need to communicate effectively with the specific team member and in agreement with them, take the following steps:

  • Identify the area or task that needs to be improved
  • Specify the target that the team member needs to achieve in order to complete the problematic area or task in order to meet the expected standards.
  • Clarify and explain the resources and support they will be offered to achieve this.
  • Explain the benefits of it and how success will look like.
  • Set a specific review date to check progress and development.
  • Set a target date for completion.

By setting and agreeing on all the above, both sides have something specific to work towards and it also gives the team member a fair and professional opportunity for improvement and development.

Benefits from using Performance Improvement Plans (PIP)

There are great benefits from using Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) for both the team member and the business.

The team member will achieve a higher level of self-awareness, improved focus and motivation in the role, and better skills.

The business will be able to stay ahead of their competition, identify and resolve any skill gaps in their staff leading to advanced skills for each individual, increase the job satisfaction levels, attract high calibre candidates for any future opportunities and promote from within rather than recruiting external candidates for more senior positions.

In order this whole process to be effective, meaningful and give you the expected results, this plan needs to be used and monitored, by following the targets set and review the progress of the individual in the dates set.

Disciplinary action and Grievance

As already mentioned above, in the unfortunate event of an employee’s misconduct, disciplinary action needs to take place.

But the same needs to happen when the performance improvement plans (PIP) are not followed by the team member and despite the employer’s efforts to support the team member, they haven’t given the expected results in the times set.  

At this point it’s very important to clarify the difference between the Disciplinary action and Grievance.

Disciplinary action

This is the procedure that needs to take place when an employee:

  • shows consistently poor performance
  • does not follow company’s rules, policies and procedures
  • had a misconduct

Depending on the seriousness of the incident, it can be completed through  informal procedures, where the issues are usually handled discretely between the team member and the management team, or formal procedures, where the all the stages of dealing with the incident, which are specified in the company’s HR policy, Employee Handbook and the employee’s contract, and must be followed closely by the employer.


This is any complaint, concern or problem that the employee will raise with their employer. Similarly, to the disciplinary action, the grievance procedures are specified in the company’s HR policy, Employee Handbook and the employee’s contract, and must be followed closely by the employer.


Dealing with performance and under-performance is critical for any business and has to be done correctly following the right procedures based on the case at each time.

What you always need to have in mind, no matter the individual case, everybody must be treated fairly and in the same ways when the circumstances are similar, all the issues must be dealt on time, fairly and reasonably, and the employers must always comply with legislation and stick to company’s HR policy, Employee Handbook and the employee’s contract .