It is at the time of recruitment when the employer sets expectations from the employee with regard to his roles and responsibilities. At times, these are subject to change during the tenure of the employment on the basis of skillset and potential of the employee and business needs of the employer. The employee is expected to meet these expectations with reasonable to high degree of diligence, accuracy and perfection in a time bound manner.
In many a case, however, the employee is unable to meet expectations set out by the employer for varied reasons. At this juncture, employers at times tend to proceed to dismiss the employee in a summary manner on the ground of misconduct. The said option, though might be convenient, but falls short of legal viability as performance below expectations is not a misconduct in employment law context.
A better and feasible option for the employer in such cases is to put the employee in a performance improvement programme (PIP) for a certain period. The programme entails identification of deficiencies, communication of the same to the employee and review of his performance during the tenure of the programme. The period during which the employee is put into a PIP programme is a crucial phase for the employer to assess the performance of the employee with an objective lens and an opportunity to the employee to make up for the deficiencies in a progressive manner. Hence, the structure of the PIP policy of the employer and the process followed by the employer during the PIP programme are critical in decision making by the employer with respect to dealing with such employee in a justified manner.