You have an employee who is not turning in work of an acceptable quality or regularly turns in late work.
Regular and frequent communication is important with all employees, but it is especially important when dealing with a possible performance problem. Ongoing communication between the supervisor and the employee should ensure that there is a common understanding of how the supervisor views the work being produced. While there may be disagreement, there should be no surprises.
Where Do I Start?
When you detect a performance problem, intervene early. Counsel the employee and try to determine the cause of the poor performance. This is critical if the employee has previously produced at an acceptable or higher level. Look for issues such as lack of training, motivation, employee "burn out," or some other cause (e.g., personal tragedy or conflicts with coworkers). The Employee and Labor Relations Branch (ELRB) should have a CD-ROM, "Addressing and Resolving Poor Performance: An Interactive Tool for Supervisors," which provides guidance. Also, the Office Personnel Management (OPM) has a website on "Dealing with Performance Issues." You can access it at http://www.opm.gov. Go to the Index and look for "Poor Performers" or "Performance Based Actions." If problems persist despite valid and repeated efforts to provide training and improve motivation, then contact your Employee Relations (ER) Specialist to discuss the problems and follow the procedures outline below.
Rules and Flexibilities:
Under Governmental rules, you may act any time an employee's performance becomes unsatisfactory. An employee must have an opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance after having been informed that performance has been unacceptable and informed of what is expected as acceptable performance. This opportunity is given through a written Opportunity to Improve (OTI). If performance does not improve, you may reassign, demote, or remove the employee following a prescribed set of rules established by law. An employee serving a probationary period (usually the first year of Federal service) whose performance is unacceptable can be removed with a minimum of formal procedure. You should consult with your ER Specialist about the procedures applicable to probationary employees.
The employee must have current elements and standards. An AD-2000-A (Opportunity to Improve form) and other letters or memoranda are used to notify the employee of the opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance and the proposal and decision to demote or remove the employee.
It is normally prudent to allow the employee to be covered by current performance standards for a minimum period of time (90 days) before formal corrective action is begun. Also, the employee normally should be given at least a 60-day opportunity period to demonstrate that he or she can perform the duties acceptably. The formal notice advising the employee that you are proposing his or her demotion or removal must be issued at least 30 days in advance of the proposed effective date of the action, and the employee must be given at least 15 days to respond. These are the legally minimum time frames, you may also need to consult the any applicable collective bargaining unit agreement for additional mandated time frames.
Good Management Practices:
A NOTE ON SES . . .