We are currently taking an underperforming staff member through a performance management process. Can you tell me how long we should wait until we see improvement before moving on?
There is no clear rule with regard to timeframes. It will depend on the behaviour in question and where you are up to in managing a poorly performing employee.
If you have explained the problem to the employee, and issued a written warning, then you do need to allow a reasonable period of time to give the employee the chance to improve their performance.
For example, if the poor performance is more behaviourally or attitude-based, then something like two weeks may be adequate. But if it is a matter of improving their tasks then your timeframe may need to be longer in order to be reasonable.
In performance management, it is most important that you communicate clearly what the issues are, how they can be improved and the timeframe that you’re working with.
It is important to communicate to the employee the consequences of failing to improve, i.e. termination of their employment.
Of course, it is also crucial for your own protection that you document all meetings and correspondence adequately.