Interim Head of HR
Pringle Brandon LLP
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Managing an employee out of the business

Managing an employee out of the business

 I am a stand-alone HR Manager in medium sized company. I took over this year after the previous HR Manager left. A few months after I started I was informed by senior management that a member of staff who has been with us for 6 years, was to be performance managed out of the business. I advised an informal performance review should be commenced which was. There was no improvement and as such I have then advised to move to a formal process. The management decided to give another 4 weeks to give him a further period of review. If he does not improve, it looks like he will be invited to a disciplinary and then dismissed.

We are due to hold a meeting with him to set the objectives for the next four weeks, but he wants his manager to be present. The reason the manager is not being asked at this meeting is that the manager has just taken over managing  this individual and instead its the unit head that will hold this objectives setting meeting. The current problem is I am having with this is that the member of staff wants his manager present, the unit head is refusing his request. I have explained to the member of staff that its not a disciplinary meeting so his line manager does not need to be present although I know the manager can be present and I have explained to senior management about having his line present, but they will not allow this to happen!

I should explain the unit head decided to manage this whole issue, as he has been indirectly managing the member of staff historically, so feels he should lead this performance management process.

I feel I am being batted between the employee and the senior management and I do things will get worse. I should also add they do see the whole process as being risky but they are prepared to take the risk and will not go for a compromise agreement straight away.

I apologise if this long winded but I would really welcome some advice as I am on my own on this one. Its good experience but its getting too messy for my liking. Should this happen again in the future I can avoid this by putting proper HR measures into place, but time is not on my side on this one.

Thanks in advance!


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31st Oct 2011 11:22

It would clearly be better to have the manager present but it is not in my opinion worth worrying about

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By karengr
1st Nov 2011 14:51

I would avise the employee that as he had been managed, historically by the unit Head, it would be better for him to have that person present than his current, new Manager.  However, I think it's important to ask the employee why he would prefer to have the new, rather than the original manager present and take that into consideration.  providing you are not breaching any rights of the employee, you should be fine.  If there is a potential breach, the Unit Head needs to be fully aware of this and it's possible implications.  Either way, be firm but fair 

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By Marshy
1st Nov 2011 15:01


who will be responsible for performance managing the employee if not his line manager?  Surely this is sufficient a reason to allow him to attend & isn't it a little undermining to exclude him from this meeting?

Is the manager in the dark in regard to the company's plans for one of his team?

If -sorry, when the resulting disciplinary hearing takes place who will be the one to say he hasn't performed to the required standard - will this be the dept head or the line manager.

The line manager needs to be on board now otherwise there is a risk of the line manager backing the employee.

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3rd Nov 2011 08:53

I agree with the last posting which is that you should persuade the Head that it is fine for him to conduct the meeting but the new line manager should be present to ensure he is fully appraised of the progress of the case and does not just get information third hand.

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4th Nov 2011 15:14

 I agree completely with the other respondents who say that the line manager must be present.  The key to the issue is the relationship between the Company and the individual employee with the objective of managing his performance.  The line manager represents the Company in managing the employee and therefore he MUST be involved in all discussions concerning the contribution of the employee to the Company's performance.  You also need to be careful that you have good, documented evidence regarding the performance of the individual.  As an experienced (somewhat mature!) HR Manager I have dealt with too many cases in the past where 'the management' have decided to remove somebody from the organisation without any documented or substantial evidence regarding lack of performance.  Beware of Employment Tribunals, which can be so demanding of your time even though you might feel you have a strong case.  I now take a very tough line with managers and insist that they document (facts and figures, not just opinions) their concerns over the performance of individuals they want to discipline.

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