Hello everyone,

Is it correct on the employers part if we can reduce the employees salary by certain amount when he is lacking in performance? Warnings are not given till date but in a couple of discussions we have informed that his results are low even though he's been putting a lot of effort. He works over time, works really hard but his results are low and not up to the standards we are expecting. We have been pushing him all this while, but we can no longer afford to do so (It's been 6 months of his service with 3 months of probation). We are looking to hire a more experienced person who can assist him and guide him if he wants to learn and continue with us because we do not want to terminate him.

Do you think reducing his salary will be a good option or anything else we can do? Suggestions please?


8th November 2017 From India, Bengaluru

Labour Law & Hr Consultant
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
+2 Others

Dear Aishwarya,
Generally, performance of the assigned work/job within the time-frame has two facets - one quantity and the other quality. In both the cases, it can be evaluated by means of a systematic performance appraisal only. Particularly, when the nature of the work has got more quality orientation, the appraisal system should be such that subjective considerations or inferences are minimized to the possible extent by setting clear-cut parameters of assessment. When the performance of the work can better be assessed quantitatively, the appraisal becomes relatively easier and more exact giving no room for any subjective considerations. Consistent poor/low performance of an individual employee has a devastating impact not only on his career but also on the effectiveness of the team concerned. Of course, when the particular employee's performance is continuously on the ebb, the Management can resort to proportionate wage-cut. But reduction in his salary is a punitive action which requires the compliance of the principles of Natural Justice before inflicting such a punishment.
8th November 2017 From India, Salem
Umakanthan Sir, thank you very much for your response. Also, if you can let me know in brief how to come up with a clear cut quality based assessment for evaluating his appraisal, would be great.

I have prepared one appraisal form that brings out the core responsibilities of the employee, work demands, his objectives, performance areas, result areas that come in self appraisal and supervisor's appraisal, is that good enough? is it going to be like you mentioned?
9th November 2017 From India, Bengaluru
Adding on to the previous message sir, performance appraisals are done after the employee completes an year isn't it? The employee has only finished 6 months. But we know its not happening. How much ever we push he's not able to come up to our expectations. And we cannot afford to keep paying him for the work hes been doing and wait until its appraisal time. We need to decide something in a month or two. We have been losing projects because he's not very skilled yet to handle them. And we cannot afford for an experienced one and still retain this employee. We dont want to fire him and be that harsh. That's why we thought of reducing his salary and accommodate two.

Whats your opinion sir?
9th November 2017 From India, Bengaluru
Dear Aishwarya,

Umakanthan has given you some advice based on the limited information that you have provided about the scenario. You need to give more information to give you a concrete advice. What is the nature of the person's work. Has (s)he any previous experience in doing similar work? if not, have you provided any training? You say that (s)he doe not meet your expectations. Are your expectations too high? What methods have you used to set his/her targets. In some companies, the targets are set very high.

The more information you provide the better the advice that you will get.
9th November 2017 From United Kingdom
Hi sir, surely I shall answer to these questions. He's working as a web designer and developer. He had 2.5 years of experience when he joined and now its 3 years. He was working in the same post earlier too. He was working on a client project few months ago but we lost the project coz he cldnt meet client expectations. Now he is working on our company's website only. Hes now being spoon fed. He lacks creativity and he's very dependent. Until you tell him to do this he wouldnt do it in his knowledge. We have to monitor every move of him. Quality is affected if you let him do things by his own. He lacked in designing skills for our website even after repeatedly telling him how it should be. So the MD started developing the web design himself to help him and he should only develop it. Now he lacks in developing too. He takes a lot of time and even the smallest tasks are left undone until we monitor it. Example, even to erase a line we have to tell him or else he wont do it.

I tried talking to him and understand where hes lacking support or knowledge and also told him to gain additional knowledge on the areas where he's weak in. His reviews were low, and in many other discussions we have told him that we cannot carry on with this pace. In fact, we are losing time attending to him every min.

When asked, he says its challenging for him but he knows how to do but it takes time. Little time is fine. Its already been months now. If this is d process he wants to continue with client projects as well we cannot go ahead.

We are giving him tasks where he's knowledgeable at, but still he's not able to cope with it. We cannot spoon feed anymore. Thats why we arrived at this situation. I felt cutting down on wages is worse than firing a person. But we really do not want to fire him, instead cut down salary, bring in higher experienced person, put him under his/her training and lift him up, if he's going to agree to this.

What do you think, Sir?
9th November 2017 From India, Bengaluru
As the website is users interest. An employee will only do the changes only if the higher authority suggests or orders. These days with no approval if you do on your interest is a fishy thing.

If he was that much with no proper knowledge, then catch the person who has hired him or check the remarks that was written on his CV when he has joined the organisation.

Don't just judge an employee with no proper things in the company. Employee also cant request or order anything to the company with no performance.
9th November 2017 From India, Hyderabad
Dear Ashiwarya,

Look at the other side of the coin too, when weighing and executing the above suggestions. Why an experienced candidate with similar job knowledge of 2.5yrs is not performing at your work place.

1. Check the work environment dynamics... starting from infrastructure provide( seating arrangements), tools for his productivity ( system, software, internet ) and most important his colleagues, his peers, his reporting line, his instructor, is something bothering or obstructing his performance.
2. As a HR you cannot micromanage each and every employee in the company. Engage buddy system when a new person joins the company, who will constantly guide and guard him and help in his initialisation, basically orientation int the company. This buddy would inturn give feedback HR the initial journey of his for a fixed time period.
3. If you want to give the employee another chance, as HR you could do some employee engagement, speak to him and probe if his personal/family/friend areas is diverting his attention and which can be resolved external.

By way of reducing salary, you creating additional emotional burden for the employee. Its good to rather give him 3 warning and terminate, he can fend for another job with equivalent remuneration.
10th November 2017 From India, Mumbai
Thanks a lot for your suggestion maám. I will surely look into the aspects :)

Lastly, thank you all for responding to my query.
10th November 2017 From India, Bengaluru

Greetings ......

I have gone through the thread very carefully and thought putting up the following lines for you to note please ...

1) Let me first understand your process of selection and HR observation of the employee. He must have been selected through a process of interview. Had he been tested on his capacity of imagination and creativity? Or, had he atleast been communicated the Employer's expectation of his capacity of imagination and creativity?

2) Had he been projected on "Career Graph" offered be the employer and incresing expectation (job requirement) on imagination and creativity of the employer on with every hop and step on the "Career Graph"? I feel this had been an essential part of the interview process and if not done so you were sure to have this set back.

3) What I got that the concerned employee is a web designer and developer. If I am not wrong, looking at fast changing world of IT, upgradation of knowledge is a must for such employees and the employer has to facilitate the process - Do your organisation has such system?

4) Do you (the employer) feel that placing the employee on the right career path and educating him with essentials of employment and also guiding the employee on the track is employer's responsibilities as well?

5) Do you feel that it is not a prudent practice to lure (tempting) an employee already working in another organisatin without matching him to Job Requirement is a healthy practice?

I am sorry Aishwarya, any arbitrator would say that "reducing the employee's salary" on the plea of "non-performance" is not justified if your answer to aforesaid question do not uphold good intention.

Soumitra Sengupta
11th November 2017 From India, Pune

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