union for life

Advice for members and reps

Advice for Members and Reps

We have drawn up a range of guidance and advice for members and reps on performance management in BT. This is based on the many hundreds of queries we get on this issue and is reviewed on a regular basis. We hope you find it useful.

For personal advice please contact your local branch or the Helpdesk on 020 8971 6060

Prospect advice on key aspects of performance management in BT

The presentation on performance management in BT gives general advice on the process and how best to prepare for your 121 meetings.

Guide to Preventing Bias in the Performance Cycle - this was agreed with BT

Prospect Advice to BT line managers on performance management  

For the key documents on performance management and the Managing Under Performance process see those pages.

General advice

In the meantime here is some key general advice that can help you defend yourself against an unfair mark:

First and foremost, don’t let things drift. If you think a DN mark is unjustified, then you must challenge it. Acting early and with advice from the union there is more chance of either getting the mark changed or stopping a repeat. We know that parts of the company are now looking at patterns of DN marks to identify potential poor performers so acting early can stop you falling into that position.

 The process for challenging your mark is to first raise your concerns informally with your line manager, then your second line manager. Do that in writing so you have a record. If still not resolved, then you can use the grievance procedure. Make sure you contact the Helpdesk to ask for help in finalising your grievance. Don’t submit it without first taking advice from the union.

Other useful tips include:

  • Always refer back to the standards that should have been set at the start of the year
  • use examples of good work to illustrate your performance, don’t wait for your formal performance review to gain feedback
  • Ask for feedback on a regular basis – and make sure you put the request in writing
  • Have at least quarterly one to ones and check the notes
  • Probe alleged weaknesses and ask for examples, facts and figures. Make sure your manager puts an evidence-based and standards-based justification for your rating onto the ePerformance form.
  • Your mark should not come as a surprise
  • Check who you have been levelled against - peers should be doing broadly similar jobs
  • Remember a record must be kept of changes to performance ratings in levelling together with the supporting evidence. So if you’re told your mark was changed at levelling ask for this record.
  • Make sure to complete your self-review on ePerformance every quarter and that your line manager knows and reads it.

Some key safeguards in the agreement you can use:

  • There are no targets for managed exits
  • There must be no forced distribution or quotas for marks
  • Standards can be reviewed during the year but revised standards cannot be applied retrospectively – see the FAQs.
  • People should not be marked down solely on the basis of their relative/peer to peer performance. If you achieve the standards set then that must be your mark
  • People should not be marked down just because they are new to a job – see the FAQs
  • If assessed as Development Needed, agree with your manager the areas for improvement and ask for their support to achieve any necessary improvement. Deal with any shortcomings identified and gather the evidence that you have done so even if you are challenging your mark. 
  • Make sure you check out our more detailed guidance at the top of the page.

Make sure everything is in writing. If someone says something to you about your performance but this is verbal and they refuse to confirm in writing one tip is to email confirming your understanding of the discussion. They can then either confirm or refute what was said.