Do You Fear Managing Employee’s Performance Due To Bullying Legislation?


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Whilst conducting workplace investigation over the last 19 years and in particularly over the past 3 years, I have found that more than half of the complaints I investigate stem from employee adversity from being performance managed.

Are You The Emu Manager?

The Emu manager puts their head in the sand hoping that the poor performance will either magically correct itself or that the employee will leave. Not dealing with poor performance when it arises, and hoping it all improves with time is one of the common practices with managers. Not only does it mean that issues are not addressed, more importantly it gives the employee the sense that everything is OK, they are doing fine. This also reflects to the rest of the team and company that this performance is acceptable when in fact it is not.

Unfortunately when the poor performance is not addressed at the time when that employee is approached by a manager who suggests that their performance is not up to where it should be the reaction is often surprise and suspicion which translates in many cases to “you must be wrong, there is nothing wrong with what I am doing, why are you picking on me, this is bullying, this is harassment.

Performance management is not bullying or harassment, as stated by the Fair Work Act 2009 “it is reasonable management action when it is conducted in a reasonable manner.”

When managers don’t want to performance manage an employee because they find it confronting and anticipate that the employee will cause a conflict, the manager would normally give inadequate performance messages which don’t display the full picture to the employee for the employee to correct.

Many managers don’t like to communicate poor performance to employees and are worried about upsetting people and getting complaints about their management style.

There are no other way to say this but if you are a manager you are going to have to manage employees and even their poor performance. If you manage there is a chance you are going to get complaints even if you are in the right and have followed the correct process.

There are many reasons why managers are terminate employment with an employee and some of these are that the employee;

  • Is a nice person; or
  • Has a family to support; or
  • Is trying hard to do the right thing!

In these cases an effective performance management process can often open the communication and lay the poor performance on the table and move towards assisting the employee to acceptable performance.

Are You The Fearful Mouse Manager?

The fearful Mouse manager is scared of the consequences of their management actions. Do you fear of:

  • A bullying complaint
  • An unfair dismissal application
  • Legal action.

If you have an effective performance management and a thorough grievance process in place, and assuming you have followed that process to the letter you will be able to defend actions against you.

Now, if you don’t have effective performance management and a thorough grievance process in place it’s time to get on the phone and call an HR expert and start by getting some training in how to conduct effective performance management. The money you spend will save you stress, productivity and profits to your business.

So what does an investigator know about performance management? We see it when it goes wrong, we see the mistakes, and we see it when the proper process has been followed but complaints are still made and of course we investigate the complaints.

About the Author

Nicole Allen – B.Mgt, Dip. Mgt, Dip.HR Nicoles Photo

Managing Director

Nicole Allen is the Founder and Managing Director of Moreton Bay HR Solutions. In 1996, Nicole Allen commenced a successful career in operational and strategic human resources, recruitment, management and communications field. She has held some significant positions ranging from Human Resources Generalist to Group HR Manager in Mining and Resources, Uranium, Oil & Gas, Defence, Heavy Manufacturing, Information Technology, Utilities, Finance and small to large business sectors.

With more than 19 years’ experience in the Human Resources Management and communications field, she brings a diverse and unique HR and communications expertise and knowledge. She is a strong believer in employee communication as being the biggest key to business success and has a consultative approach which has underpinned her successful development of HR programs which improve the culture and behaviour of employees.

Moreton Bay HR Solutions

Moreton Bay HR Solutions is a boutique Human Resource Outsourcing and Consulting and Business Solutions company that specialise in partnering with small to medium sized companies to provide practical expert Human Resources solutions.

 We can assist you with:

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Call Nicole at Moreton Bay HR Solutions today on 0459 220 516.