Managing performance in recognition of people's different needs

In today’s lunchtime conversations, one of the rooms had the above title, and the below is a capture of the notes I took during it (but if anyone else reading this was also in the room and remembers additional stuff, please add in!):


  • a new staff member’s performance is below par, and this is impacting on the wider organisation’s delivery and achievement of its wider purposes, as well as its culture through this under-performance not being managed;
  • no existing system for feedback or appraisals during a person’s probationary period exists, and historically the organisation hasn’t had or used any such systems more widely either: so whatever is introduced needs to be done carefully to ensure that everyone is brought along with it, and this needs to be in asynchronous ways, owing to different roles not overlapping with each other;
  • the organisation is part of a wider movement which is based on radical values and a faith, but it’s own internal structures don’t seem to easily reflect these, and not all staff and volunteers fully understand the relationship between them and this either.


  • need to reconcile the radical values of the wider movement that the group is part of, with HR law;
  • how is a person’s performance perceived by others, if their role is not highly visible (= usually by the knock-on effect to other people experiencing the consequences of their poor performance).

initial ideas shared and reflected on

  • extend probationary period;
  • introduce weekly 1-2-1 check ins with regular prompts of: what’s working well, what are you struggling with, etc. This links to the idea of a buddy system, which could pair the person with someone from another part of the organisation for a greater perspective: helping the person understand the ‘bigger picture’ of the organisation may help them with motivation, etc;
  • set and review objectives on a rolling (weekly?) basis;
  • 360 degree feedback was felt to be too risky, but could be adapted with creative and ‘safer’ single use questions (for example: what do people see as being each others’ superpower; how would they introduce them; etc);
  • draft a ‘bridging’ document that links/translates the organisations’ identity in faith, with how systems and processes are sought to be approached to help people reconcile mis-understandings, mis-perceptions, etc and so help better minimise future tensions;
  • install a visual board where all staff and volunteers can share ideas and practices as they relate to the organisations values as a way to begin to create a shared understanding, and allow all to begin to appreciate each others’ views and perceptions of the same issues.

links to supporting docs

ethos of Daily Bread Cambridge co-op (a retailer based in a faith) Our Ethos — Daily Bread Co-operative Cambridge

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additional links to other docs of potential relevance: