Performance Management is the process of ensuring that employees are meeting an organisation’s standards. It can focus on input, output, individual employees, departments or an organisation as a whole. But, primarily, performance management is a tool for improving individual work standards or behaviour.



Performance management allows organisations to be productive and maintain competitive advantage with objectives met and customers satisfied. It measures the progress being made by the organisation by following a system of planning, establishing, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating performance. A successful performance management system will guide the operations of all employees and managers and should;

  • encourage performance improvement, develop productive teams or departments and manage behaviour to promote professional and productive working relationships;
  • have structures such as performance management policies embedded within the program to allow for it to function effectively;
  • allow employees to understand;
    1. what is expected of them within their role;
    2. the skills and knowledge required to meet the expectations of the organisation and follow development plans;
    3. that they will be given feedback and opportunities to discuss their performance at work;
    4. that they may be rewarded for their performance;
    5. that underperformance and/ or poor behaviour could result in disciplinary action; and
    6. that they are supported by the organisation to achieve optimum performance goals.



A Performance Appraisal, otherwise known as a Performance Review, is generally a two-way discussion regarding an individual’s performance and how it will be managed and/ or improved in the future.

The Objectives for Performance Appraisal

  • Performance Assessment: The organisation should be able to differentiate between the employees who are effectively contributing to the overall goals of the organisation and those that are not.
  • Rewarding Good Performance: Most employees who are performing well and contributing to the successes of the organisation want to be rewarded for their efforts. Therefore, these employees should be identified and rewarded appropriately. If not, motivation may decrease, and the employee may not work as effectively.
  • Professional Development: Performance appraisal assists employees to develop their skills to achieve optimum performance goals.
  • Feedback: Clear and effective feedback is essential for performance appraisal and actionable improvement.



Under performance is term used to describe an employee’s performance, behaviour or attitude if it is unsatisfactory in relation to the organisation’s policies and expectations.

What Are the Common Types of Underperformance?

  • Inappropriate Attitude and Non-Compliance: This can usually be identified when an employee has a disregard for the organisation’s policies, procedures, rules and they possess a negative behaviour or attitude most of the time.
  • Unsatisfactory Performance: This can be identified when an employee fails to achieve standards or expectations given to them by the organisation over a period of time.
  • Unacceptable Interaction with Staff: This can be identified when an employee is showing hostile or inappropriate behaviour, is using offensive language, being dishonest or bullying and harassing other employees.

How an organisation manages or deals with underperformance should be clearly stated in their performance management policies and procedures.

How do I Deal with Underperformance?

  • Feedback: Advise the underperforming employee of your expectations and state that they are not meeting them. Provide the employee with clear information or steps on how to improve their performance.
  • Performance Improvement Plan: A specific plan for improving performance should be implemented. The plan should include provision for monitoring performance over time with specific KPI’s set at intervals. There is no specific time frame for implememtiong a PIP. This will depend on the individual circumstances. However, there should be an end date set.
  • Provide a Formal Written Warning: If the PIP is not followed or KPIs are not met, a formal warning should clearly state the expectations of the employee and the ways in which they are underperforming. Warnings should state how many warnings were given prior and assign a date for the employee’s performance to be reassessed. Warnings should always be documented to be used if disciplinary action is to be taken.
  • Disciplinary Action: If underperformance is still occurring after giving feedback and written warnings, disciplinary action may be taken against the employee depending on the organisation’s policies and procedures. For example: suspension, termination etc.
  • Be Fair and Reasonable: Some employers use performance management as a tool for ‘getting rid’ of staff they don’t like or who they think are not a good fit for the organisation. It is important to ensure that there are clear reasons for conducting a performance management process or you could face a bullying claim on the basis of unreasonable management action.