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Acas publishes new advice after research reveals that only 1 in 4 organisations adapt performance management processes to consider staff with disabilities

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Workplace expert, Acas, has published new advice today after its research revealed that only one in four employers confirmed that their performance management systems are adapted for staff with special needs, disabilities and conditions such as dyslexia and autism.

The new research 'Improvement required?' included a survey, which asked employers about performance management systems within their workplaces. The study also found that:

  • One in ten employers said that their performance management system was demotivating for staff; and
  • Only one in ten employers said that their systems were used for planning and monitoring training and development.

Acas Head of Diversity, Julie Dennis, said:

"Our study reveals a varying picture when it comes to performance management systems within UK workplaces and a failure by most employers to consider adjusting them for staff with disabilities.

"Performance management shouldn't be seen as just a tool to identify poor performance or measuring against targets. A good system can help an organisation to motivate their staff, recognise the work of their employees and identify development opportunities.

"Managers should treat staff fairly when it comes to managing performance and allocate time to do it properly. Acas has published new practical guidance in this area to help get it right."

Acas' new advice on performance management published today includes some top tips for employers on how to treat their staff fairly, such as:

  • avoid surprises. Managers should be discussing and addressing problems along the way and as they arise, and not leaving concerns until the end of year performance meeting.

  • avoid favouritism. Objective criteria should be used to measure performance where possible to reduce the risk of managers being seen to favour certain employees over others; and

  • avoid discrimination. Employers should actively consider the diversity of their workforce and ensure that their arrangements are fair to all and in line with the Equality Act. For example, an employer must make reasonable adjustments if an employee with a disability is disadvantaged by their performance measures.

The full guidance can be seen at

Notes to editors

1. Acas commissioned NatCen Social Research to look at the different performance management processes and systems used across different organisations. It included a quantitative survey of 1003 HR and general managers. To see the full research please see:

2. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.

3. For media enquiries please contact Shumon Ali-Rahman on 0330 109 3642 / For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 0330 109 7070.