Many employers don’t like to have formal meetings, i.e. in private, with closed doors, with staff who are not performing. They feel that an informal comment at their desk or the coffee machine will be enough for the person to understand the feedback and act on it. But as this incident that we had to deal with shows, employees are not managers are not owners of businesses, and you need to deal with them differently.
I was called in to deal with the PA to the MD. “Deal with” meaning, of course, that he wanted to get rid of her. We were going to have a meeting with her (she was under 2 years’ service) and part company after saying what was going wrong. However speaking to the MD before the meeting it became clear that he had never had a formal meeting with her to discuss ANY of the things that he now wanted to fire her for. He had either just stopped asking her to do the task or said something about something going wrong, as he was walking out the office. Given that we had nothing in writing and no meetings, I recommended that we give her “one last chance” once we had spoken to and documented the problems.