Capability Procedures

Dylan Loughlin

If employees struggle to meet the required standards for a business to run efficiently, then a capability investigation should be carried out to address their poor performance before deciding on what procedure to take next. The standards that an employer requires, should be clearly written in the company handbook or in an employee’s contract of employment. (We can provide bespoke documentation for our clients.)

Deciding on the best procedure

An employer must decide on what action is most appropriate to take, either disciplinary or a capability hearing. During the investigation it will become more transparent whether the issue was due to either:

· Conduct; or

· Capability

If it’s a conduct issue

In the event that the employee has done something wrong and is in breach of the disciplinary procedure, this should be investigated and dealt with under the disciplinary procedure (if appropriate).

If it’s a capability issue

If it is a capability issue, it usually means an employee has issues with carrying out their duties. It is management’s responsibility to ensure that any concerns over performances are dealt with fairly and, the necessary steps are taken to establish the facts before a final decision is made on what action to take.

Who does the capability policy apply to?

The capability procedure will apply to employees who have at least one years’ continuous employment. Employees with less service whose performance falls below the required standard may face dismissal at the management’s discretion.

The policy does not apply to agency workers or self-employed contractors.

How does it work?

Ideally, a capability procedure will follow three facilitative steps with 3-month intervals, whereby;

1) The employee is invited in and made aware of any shortcomings and an agreed training and development plan is agreed between the employee and management. (Written Warning)

2) The employee is invited in to discuss any improvements or lack thereof and the training and development plan is further expanded and refined. (Final Written Warning)

3) The employee is invited in to discuss if the employee has satisfactorily resolved all shortcomings put to them by management. (Dismissal)

It is important to consider if dismissal is necessary, i.e. could the employee be re-deployed, or a demotion be considered.

A company should also look to their contracts of employment and job descriptions to ascertain the exact roles, responsibilities and function of the staff member, as well as that of others to ascertain if there are capabilities elsewhere.

For help and advice on Capability Issues, please contact Carrie Wilson at Copacetic Business Solutions Ltd ( Alternatively you can fill out our contact form here.