What is a Performance Improvement Plan?

Performance Improvement Plan

Do you have that one employee who could be doing amazing things, but just can’t seem to get their act together? If you think that the employee could excel at your company with a little extra guidance, it might be time for a performance improvement plan (PIP).

When is a Performance Improvement Plan Necessary?

Only use a PIP if an employee has been regularly underperforming, and if you have already documented performance issues. A PIP should not be the first plan, but should be used as a wakeup call for the employee when nothing else is working. A PIP lets your employee know that their performance still isn’t cutting it, and this is their last chance for improvement.

If you suspect that an employee still won’t meet expectations with a PIP, then it might not be worth your time to write one, unless you want a longer paper trail to justify termination.

What’s in a Performance Improvement Plan?

When you’re writing a performance improvement plan, make sure to include:

  • the behavior that needs to be improved – be specific and cite examples;
  • the support and resources you’ll provide – be specific so your employee knows that you want to help them;
  • how performance will be measuredset specific, measurable goals so your employee doesn’t run into any surprises;
  • when you’ll give feedback – go ahead and schedule follow-up meetings and let the employee know who will be in each meeting;
  • potential consequences – make sure your employee knows the consequences (including termination) if they do not improve their performance; and
  • additional sources of information – make sure the employee has access to the employee handbook or anything else that will help them improve their performance.

Download a Free Performance Improvement Plan Template

There’s a lot that needs to go into a PIP. Don’t miss a single thing by downloading a template today!

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Tips for Implementing a Successful Performance Improvement Plan

When you’re putting an employee on a performance improvement plan, the goal should be to help the employee thrive. So, get input from the employee to make sure the goals in the PIP are realistic and achievable.

To further help your employee, make sure the defined goals are measurable and completely relevant to the employee’s job. You should also include enough details to help the employee succeed.

While implementing the PIP, you might discover that the employee is a good fit for your company, but not for the job they’re currently performing. If that turns out to be the case, consider trying to find a new role for the employee. They might end up excelling without any help.

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