Tag Archive for: management

Tips for managing under performance

I often get asked by clients how can they terminate the services of an employee who is not performing.

Managing day to day performance effectively has many benefits for both the employee and organisation. Managing an under-performing employee takes time, patience, objectivity, and discipline in following the correct process to avoid costly mistakes. The objective of the poor performance counselling session is to improve the performance of the employee, and does not always have to end in termination of the employee’s services. By adopting this approach, it is possible to turn the situation around. However, if there is no improvement over time, then management can terminate the employee’s services after due process has been followed.

  1. Schedule a meeting with the employee and state the expectation of the employee relative to the employment contract and job description. Be specific about the job requirements. Prior to this meeting, issue a letter to the employee so that they can prepare in advance.
  2. At the meeting provide positive feedback to the employee and state the gap between the expectation and the current performance level. The standard or expectation should be clearly defined. Provide examples as evidence of technical issues and behaviour that are poor performance areas. Be specific. Explain the impact of the poor performance on the business, client and the rest of the team.
  3. Ask the employee to explain the reasons for their underperformance (Is it a training issue, personal problems or lack of experience?). Listen to the reasons and take them into consideration during the counselling sessions. Management need to demonstrate (evidence) that they provided support, coaching, objectivity, fairness, and training to the employee to resolve the problem.
  4. Ask the employee how they propose to remedy the performance issues raised. They need to take ownership for their poor performance, development and the action plan.
  5. Ask the employee what support or coaching they still require from management to meet the performance expectations. Management needs to commit to this support.
  6. Jointly agree what improvements will be required, be specific and use SMART principles see previous blog. Agree to an action plan and timelines for the improvement required.
  7. Agree a date for the next counselling session. 3-12 weeks should be sufficient time, depending on the position, seniority of employee and tasks to be completed.
  8. Ensure all meetings are documented (evidence) and that it reflects the above points. The record should also reflect the response from the employee (Audi alteram partum rule). This demonstrates fairness in the process.
  9. Stick to the agenda and try not to get side-tracked by other issues that are raised during the meeting by the employee.
  10. Inform the employee of the POSSIBLE consequences of not improving viz possible termination of employment. First prize would always be to improve their performance.
  11. Ensure that the employee signs the document and acknowledges that they have read and understood the contents thereof. Give a copy to the employee and keep a copy on the personnel file.
  12. If there is no improvement in performance, conduct a second counselling and third counselling session. If there is still no improvement, then a poor performance enquiry needs to be held which could possibly lead to the termination of the employee’s services, pending the outcome.
  13. If their performance has improved, give the employee recognition for the improvement and close the process. Inform the employee that the process has closed.

How to hire the right person for the job

Think back to the time you recruited someone for your business. Were you absolutely confident at the time that you had selected the right person for the job? And has the person turned out to be what you expected? Hiring for your business is a big responsibility, and it is also time consuming, so getting it right is critical.

Here are a few considerations to help business owners with the selection process:

  1. Ensure that the job description is an accurate reflection of the requirements.
  2. Visualise and create a profile of the ideal person. Consider personality, functional skills, experience, qualifications, communication skills, motivation, special attributes, and Employment Equity targets if applicable etc.
  3. Compile a Competency based interview guide. If you do not know how to do this, engage the services of a HR Consultant, or alternatively design a questionnaire to obtain high quality information about the candidate.
  4. Use probing questions and ask for examples of behavior when designing the questionnaire.
  5. Begin the search. Identify what social media platforms your ideal candidate might be registered with e.g. LinkedIn. Use existing networks to spread the word. Offer a referral fee to current employees, or use a recruitment agency.
  6. Screen and shortlist candidates. Depending on the position, conduct assessments or Psychometric testing, reference, education, criminal and credit checks.
  7. Conduct first round of interviews (in person, telephonically or via video conferencing)
  8. Conduct second round of interviews of short-listed candidates. Consider using panel interviews to ensure objectivity.
  9. Review all the data, rate the candidate, and make a decision
  10. Make the offer and ensure that the person is granted a superb onboarding experience into your company.
  11. Ensure that every candidate that applies for the job is treated as a special guest of the company. Ensure all candidates have a positive experience, as this will impact on the companies reputation and Brand.

Tips for employers when retrenching and exiting employees from the company

Unfortunately, with the event of COVID many businesses have not survived or are struggling to survive, and for this reason retrenchments are becoming the “new normal”. Before retrenching employees maybe consider reading my previous blog about “alternatives to retrenching”. Once the retrenchment process is concluded (in line with the regulatory requirements) one needs to exit the employee from the company.

These 18 tips will ensure regulatory compliance, and ensure that an employee is successfully exited from the company.

  1. Provide support. Have you ever been retrenched? If not, count yourself fortunate. It is an extremely stressful event in one’s life and therefore as a manager, one needs to give the process careful thought. Provide counselling and assist with the compilation of the employee’s CV or contacts details for to your networks to assist with job hunting. If the business can afford it, provide an outplacement service that specialises in providing the support people need.
  2. Provide a checklist/guide or conduct an educational workshop to assist the employee with the process of exiting the company. There is a mountain of forms that need to be completed, and this can be very confusing and stressful for the employee.
  3. Keep copies of all signed and personal documentation in a safe place for 5 years (SARS requirement) e.g. Notice of Termination letter and/or Retrenchment Agreement, Section 189 notice, payslips etc. Do not share this information with anyone without the employee’s consent (POPI Act).
  4. Keep copies of minutes from the consultations.
  5. Check severance package calculations and ensure that the correct deductions have been made. It may help to issue two payslips in the last month. One for the normal salary and associated deductions such as UIF, PAYE etc, and the second payslip for the retrenchment package. Arrange for the terms of re-payment of loans by the employee. If you receive the UIF TERS payment after the employee has left the company, ensure that you pay this to the employee.
  6. If applicable, the payroll person should submit a request for a Tax Directive from SARS and then issue this to the employee.
  7. Ensure that the employee supplies his/her personal email address for future IRP5 Certificates, future correspondence or payments from TERS.
  8. Notify any benefit providers (medical aid or provident fund) of the termination if applicable.
  9. Encourage the employee to seek tax or financial advice from a professional to capitalise on possible tax efficient options, and also for guidance about the best way to invest their severance package.
  10. Ensure all leave, allowances, UIF, TERS, overtime claims etc are paid to the employee.
  11. Complete the UIF form UI19 and supply the last 6 payslips to the employee in the final month if they do not have copies.
  12. Issue a Certificate of Service to the employee (mandatory) as part of termination documentation. Ensure that it states the reason for termination and the dates of employment. This will help with job hunting.
  13. Ensure that a letter of recommendation/ work reference is issued to employee. This is not mandatory, but it does help with finding new employment.
  14. Conduct education sessions about the completion of the UIF forms and the process to follow. Many claims are rejected by the Department of Labour due to incomplete forms being submitted. This causes additional stress to the employee.
  15. Ensure all company equipment and access cards are returned. If the company is closing, consider allowing employees to keep or buy the company equipment once “scrubbed” e.g. laptop, company phone.
  16. Ensure that the employee activates the out of office/ autoreply on email or redirects the phone to another colleague
  17. Ensure all passwords, company documents and folders are accessible to Management. Also, ensure that a
    thorough handover is concluded with the employee.
  18. Bid farewell and acknowledge the employee’s contribution to your company. Be compassionate, consider how you would like to be treated if the shoe was on the other foot. An ex-employee could be your next client, customer, Independent Consultant or someone who refers others to your business.

Retrenchment checklist for employees

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many businesses are struggling to survive and are retrenching employees. Often employees do not know what they need to do before exiting the organisation. Here is a 17 point checklist to make sure that when you leave the organisation that all goes smoothly, and with minimal stress.


Employee checklist for retrenchment (less than 50 employees) YES NO
1.  Have I received my Notice of Termination letter and/or Retrenchment Agreement with my retrenchment calculation?
2.  Have I submitted the signed Retrenchment Agreement to Management?
3.  Do I need to raise any concerns or questions with management?
4.  Have I approached a tax professional for advice on my package?
5.  Have I received the copy of the Tax Directive from payroll?
6.  Have I updated my personal email address with payroll and management for the next IRP5 to be sent to me?
7. Do I need to ask payroll for copies of previous salary slips (often needed by banks or new employers)?
8. Have I received the UI19 UIF form from payroll so that I can claim UIF?
9. Have I received a Certificate of Service (will help future employers to do reference checks on you, confirms employment with previous company)? This is a regulatory requirement and is mandatory.
10. Do I need a letter of recommendation from management (work reference for job hunting)?
11. Do I need the company to sign forms if I decide to use an Independent UIF agent or have I registered on the Dept of Labour website for UIF?    www.labour.gov.za
12. Have I cleaned out my desk and handed in company equipment or access cards?
13. Have I done a thorough handover to management or appointed person?
14. Have I supplied all passwords to management or appointed person?
15. Have I put the “out of office” autoreply and forwarded my phone to someone else?
16. Use family and friends for support as it is a traumatic event in one’s life.
17. You need to find another job as quickly as possible, so remember to leave on a high note even though you are mad with your ex-employer for retrenching you. Remember work references will be taken from your ex-employer by a prospective new employer. Rather focus your energy on finding a new job and taking good care of yourself.