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Help for small firms

Managing discipline - Investigation to possible dismissal: A guide

Taking action about performance

Managing discipline - Taking action about performance issues

Disciplinary action for performance normally takes the form of:

  • an 'improvement note', not a first written warning. The note should set out the improvements needed within a set time, perhaps, for example, with the help of training or on-the-job coaching, or background reading, and also spelling out the consequences of failing to improve. An example of a letter issuing an improvement note is available from our Disciplining staff useful forms section.
  • a final written warning if there has been insufficient improvement in standards within a set time and despite measures to help. A mistake, or series of mistakes, may have a bigger impact in a small business than in a large one. On a rare occasion, when the impact is critically harming the business, or you fear it is likely to, you may feel it is fair for a first offence to go straight to a final written warning, if the employee cannot give a satisfactory explanation for the errors. But, generally, you should consider an improvement note first and follow that route. An example of a letter giving a final written warning is available from our Disciplining staff useful forms section.
  • dismissal or action short of dismissal if the performance has failed to improve after a final written warning. Action short of dismissal may include demotion or transfer to another part of the business (depending on what is allowed in their Written Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment). An example of a letter telling an employee of such action is available from our Disciplining staff useful forms section.

For information on managing performance so, hopefully, you never reach the disciplinary stage, see How to get the best out of your staff, another online tool in this series of guides.

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