How to carry out an Informal Meeting
For the Disciplinary Procedures
The below checklist is for guidance purposes only, as it is recognised that the manager will need to determine how best to manage such a meeting based on the individual circumstances of the case.
Please ensure that all discussions during this process are fair, appropriate and above reproach.
- Gather all the facts before inviting the employee to discuss specific concerns.
- Identify specific examples to draw upon within the meeting e.g. details of conduct or performance issues.
- Choose a private location and provide adequate time to discuss/explore the issues.
- Notify employee of informal meeting, via face to face communications, or phone/email.
- Briefly identify what you wish to discuss at the meeting.
- Hold an informal meeting, advising that this an informal meeting aimed at supporting the individual in addressing specific concerns and/or reaching and maintaining necessary standards/expectations.
- Constructively explain concerns/issues (i.e. shortfall), provide factual examples and allow the employee the opportunity to provide any explanations (which should be subsequently followed up and checked, where appropriate).
- Outline the impact these concerns are having on the department/area of work.
- Ensure that some positive feedback is provided, where possible.
- Together explore any potential causes and any special circumstances. The employee’s views/perception of all matters involved should be taken fully into account, and any additional or alternative evidence considered.
- Acknowledge any factors beyond the employee’s control.
- Explain any required standards or expectations which are not being met.
- Explore possible reasons/specific problems/underlying issues preventing improvement.
- Explore how issues can be addressed. Consider any suggestions the employee may offer to address the concerns.
- Clearly explain relevant expectations and the need for sustained improvement.
- Together discuss and agree any follow up action/targets/SMART objectives and responsibilities for attaining a sustained improvement and the proposed timescales, including period of monitoring/review, (as appropriate). See Top Tips: Setting and agreeing objectives and standards for existing employees.
- Generate an Improvement Support Plan (ISP)/consider any reasonable adjustments (as appropriate). See ISP Template.
- Consider any possible needs for further development (i.e. training) if relevant.
- Consider any need for external support (Workplace Health & Wellbeing etc).
- Explain that insufficient sustained improvement, within the time-scales defined, may lead to more formal action.
- Outline formal stage if improvement is not reached/situation not remedied. (Refer to relevant procedure).
- Advise that the key points of discussion including any relevant expected improvements/review timetable will be noted and sent to the employee for information.
- Seek advice from HR, if necessary.
- Check if the individual wishes to add anything or has any questions to ask.
- End on an optimistic but realistic note.
Where no case to answer, the employee should be advised of this and the discussion closed with no review required.
Where agreement cannot be reached, manager to consult with Human Resources for advice.
- Record summary of the discussions, and share with staff member e.g. any agreed actions and timescales for improvement etc., ensuring that the records are factual and constructive. (This may be held in various formats e.g. via a letter, form, email etc.) See Informal Meeting Record Template
- Store records securely, as these may be subsequently required within later procedural stages and shared with all relevant parties, including the employee, if not done so originally.
- Arrange a follow up meeting to review the situation.
- If appropriate, depending on the issue, regularly monitor and provide feedback on an on-going basis/not only at any potential subsequent review meeting.
- Identify whether there is anything else you can reasonably do to help.
- Address any new issues as they arise.
- Agree further objectives/set next review meeting, if appropriate.
- If process is failing to improve performance consult with your HR representative to discuss more formal action.