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Underperformance or serious misconduct?

So…you’re concerned about declining performance from one of your employees and wish to act. Is it simple underperformance…or serious misconduct?

As with many things in business, managing a decline in employee performance or conduct requires a logical starting point. Some key definitions is a good place to start.

What is underperformance?
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website defines underperformance as:

  • unsatisfactory work performance, that is, a failure to perform the duties of the position or to perform them to the standard required;
  • non-compliance with workplace policies, rules or procedures;
  • unacceptable behaviour in the workplace; or
  • disruptive or negative behaviour that impacts on co-workers

What is serious misconduct?
Regulation 1.07 of the Fair Work Regulations 2009 provides the definition of serious misconduct as accepted in the Fair Work Act. To summarise, the term relates to an employee deliberately behaving in a way that is inconsistent with continuing their employment. Examples include:

  • conduct that causes serious and imminent risk to the health and safety of another person or to the reputation or profits of their employer’s business
  • the employee refusing to carry out a lawful and reasonable instruction that is consistent with the employee’s contract of employment.
  • the employee, in the course of the employee’s employment, engaging in theft, fraud or assault
  • the employee being intoxicated at work

Underperformance and serious misconduct: same, same or different?
Underperformance is not the same as serious misconduct. Misconduct is deliberate or wilful behaviour which may warrant instant dismissal. In cases of serious misconduct employers are advised to seek expert advice about how to proceed before taking any action.

Is there an easy way to deal with poor performance issues?
Many employers are unsure of the best ways to deal with issues of underperformance or serious misconduct. Not knowing the correct procedure to follow, the possibility of infringing on employee rights or the emotional reactions from employees involved in performance issues are reasons commonly provided by employers for failing to act when poor performance issue arise. As a result, employers often shy away from these difficult conversations and the conduct issues continue…or escalate.

Bare Bones Consulting can show you simple ways to manage underperformance or serious misconduct, including techniques to take the emotion out of the process. Once you’ve learned how to manage poor performance you’ll see improvements across the board: productivity, product quality, revenue, new business, general employee conduct, less time dealing with employee conflicts and grievances…the list goes on and on.

Call us for a chat and a coffee…your first consultation with Bare Bones Consulting is complimentary…and you’ll get out of the office for a while!

  • PO Box 3956,
    Burleigh Town 4220,
  • 07 5576 4693
  • 0401 279 065
  • Bare Bones Consulting

Contact Us

Give Bare Bones Consulting a call to discuss our range of HR services to help your business succeed.

Even if you elect to not proceed after our first complimentary consultation you’ll be in a better position to know what’s possible.

We believe our approach to HR is unique... but then again, so is your business.

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Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.