Facing a performance management issue? The Fair Work Ombudsman has free online training to help you.

The Fair Work Ombudsman -- the commonwealth government agency with responsibility for enforcing employment regulations -- has wide-ranging powers to investigate and prosecute breaches of employment standards.

Notwithstanding these wide-ranging enforcement powers, I think it is fair to say that the FWO prefers to educate and support organisations to comply with the law and rectify any breaches voluntarily rather than rushing to prosecution.

To this end, the FWO provides a range of high-quality education and other resources to help businesses understand how to interpret and apply employment standards in the workplace. While the material provided by the FWO doesn't count as legal advice, given they are the regulator I think that their view about what is good practice is a pretty good starting point.

Which brings us to performance management, an area that causes much grief and uncertainty for many businesses. Dealing with under-performing employees is not only emotionally difficult, but can also be risky from a compliance point of view -- the consequences of a workplace bullying or unfair dismissal claim can involve significant disruption and costs to a business.

The FWO has released a training package on handling performance management as part of its online learning platform. This is a free resource that provides a sound approach to tackling the issue in a methodical way. As part of the course, participants are able to access a toolkit of practical resources that will be of benefit to experienced practitioners and new managers alike. The resources include:

  • Checklist for implementing a performance system
  • Performance agreement template
  • Performance review discussion plan template
  • Managing underperformance – the initial steps checklist
  • Managing underperformance – the formal steps checklist
  • Performance improvement plan template
  • Underperformance meeting plan template
  • Letter of first/second warning template
  • Letter of final warning template
  • Small Business Fair Dismissal Code and checklist
  • Termination of employment letter template
  • Termination of employment letter template – serious misconduct

If you are in a situation where you may need to deal with employee performance issues, I recommend you have a look at these resources from the FWO.