Managing Performance Matters

by | Oct 3, 2019

5 Top Tips for getting to the heart of the matter

  1. Introduction 
  • Begin the conversation by explaining the purpose of the meeting  
  • Set out the structure of the meeting 
  • Agree the groundrules for the meeting 
  • Adopt a calm and professional manner
  • Reassure the employee about confidentiality


Check -in 
Don’t be afraid to refer to your pre-prepared script, 
it will help you stay focused on the issue and not the person.


  1. State what the issue is and give your evidence
  • Tell them what the problem is, using your knowledge of the situation 
  • Give specific examples and refer to dates, documents, work or specific interactions 
  • Explain the impact the problem is having on the individual, the team and the organisation.


This should not come as a complete surprise, 
but the employee may appear surprised, don’t let that put you off.


  1. Ask for an explanation 
  • Listen to what they have to say – they may need to let off steam  
  • Keep an open mind and don’t jump to conclusions 
  • Acknowledge their position and any mitigating circumstances
  1. Introduce your questions and explore the issues together
  • Use open and closed questions you have prepared in advance


If new evidence emerges, adjourn the meeting if this feels appropriate

Remember to maintain control.

Use your questioning techniques to avoid diversions or too much repetition

You may have to keep restating your position

Stay clear of emotive language and don’t respond to manipulative behaviour


  1. Agree a way forward
  • Ask the employee for their proposals to resolve the situation 
  • Discuss the options
  • Arrange a follow up meeting  
  • Monitor and feedback on progress and continue to provide support where agreed. 


Document your agreement and give a copy to the employee.

This should set out:
– agreed outcomes with dates and standards required
– any support or training to be provided, by whom, by when
– any consequences if the agreement is breached.



Vanessa is a very experienced HR Professional with a career spanning over 30 years. Prior to setting up Imago HR she worked for many years as a senior HR leader, providing a compassionate and pragmatic approach to people management. Click on her website to find out more about the Imago HR service