Do Your Employees Need a Performance Improvement Plan?

Published On
September 28, 2023
Read Time
5 minutes
OnBlick Inc.

Do Your Employees Need a Performance Improvement Plan?

The work performance of employees can never be consistent. Some days might see outstanding performances while others may be underperformed. However, if poor work performance becomes a habit, it may become a hurdle for the employers. Especially if there are urgent tasks that need to be taken care of by the said employees. These continuous mistakes don’t just affect the work and the clients, it may also burden the rest of your team with more work. Underperforming employees can be dealt with the help of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).

In the blog, we will discuss what Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) means, what it should include, and how it could be implemented effectively.

What is a Performance Improvement Plan?

A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), also known as a performance review or a performance action plan provides an underperforming employee, tools to improve themselves. It is a formal document that highlights performance issues for an employee. It mentions specific work goals that the employee needs to address to tackle the productivity issues.

Performance improvement may focus on both, the work goals and the behavior-related issues of certain employees. It may include tasks that require the individual to attend additional training programs, specified work goals, or increased check-ins with the managers. These may vary based on the situations and work goals of the company. It may result in the improvement of the employee’s performance; recognition of the training gap or skills; or termination or demotion of the employee.

What is the Purpose of a Performance Improvement Plan?

Typically, performance improvement plans are designed for employees who may be lagging in some form of their work. It may not always be an indication of the lesser effort from the employee’s end. The employee might lack the training or resources to fit into the work expectations.

If the employer has been working upon finding the aspects where the employee underperforms, the PIP may help them more accurately. If the management deems it necessary to find an improvement in the work of an employee, designing a PIP may be the first step towards it.

The main purpose of a performance improvement plan includes:

What are the Benefits of a Performance Improvement Plan?

A performance review can benefit organizations in some of the following ways:

  1. Promotes a sense of accountability and fosters a positive work culture
  2. Saves costs by reducing the employee turnovers
  3. Provides the employers a chance for an early intervention
  4. Allows the employee to be more focused through a structured plan
  5. Acts like an effective form of feedback and reviews

When to Use a Performance Improvement Plan?

It is important to consider the factors that may have led the employee to underperform before signing them off for a PIP. They may be affected by external factors and the discrepancies should have an impact on their job to be acted upon. A PIP should always be the last resort after the supervisors have tried working on the issues with the employee.

What Should a Performance Improvement Plan Include?

One should start working on a PIP by first identifying the issues and their root causes. It should be worked upon by the employee and manager together. The goals set should be realistic and the focus should be on improving the work quality of the entire organization.

A good performance improvement scheme should include:

How Long Does a Performance Improvement Plan Last?

Depending on the work issues, a PIP can last for around 30 to 60 or 90 days. Ideally, it should include SMART goals, that is, specific and measurable objectives that may be achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Does a Performance Improvement Plan Mean You’re Getting Fired?

It is often assumed that if one has been put up on a performance improvement plan, it equates to losing the job. A Forbes article published in 2016 highlighted how a performance improvement plan is just the first step towards firing an employee. However, this is not always the case.

If the company had to lay off an employee, they wouldn’t always take the pain to craft a performance improvement plan for them. It should be noted though, that if an employee fails considerably with the PIP, there might be severe repercussions.

In Conclusion

A Performance Improvement Plan can be a strong motivator for employees who have lost the will to improve. It may help the employees improve their skills and knowledge leading to an increase in work productivity. It is, however, important that the leaders and HR professionals deeply reflect on the creation of the PIP in a way that solely targets the selected employee. They should take part in the improvement process and play their part as much as possible.

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