An employee performance improvement plan (PIP) is a set of steps and activities that someone has to take to ensure the goals and objectives are met. It acts as an action guide or instruction manual. A PIP should be prepared in collaboration with the employee to make it more engaging and effective.
Employee performance management is important for any organization. If the employee performance doesn’t improve, the company’s overall output stays stagnant. A performance improvement plan helps you to build accountability for employee performance.
Often it is assumed that the employee does not like to work hard or is not ready to get bigger responsibilities. In the actual world, though, people want to learn and grow in their jobs.
As an employee performance improvement plans help to build accountability. It also helps the employee to know that company trust them with the responsibility. The improvement plan provides a framework for how to improve performance. It helps all the employees to improve their performance from their current level.
A performance improvement plan indicates the trust you put in the employee’s capability and the willingness to support them in their growth. A well-structured performance improvement plan is designed with the help of HR, the manager and employees. It addresses the issues that the workers are facing and provides a solution.
Also Read: 7 Tips To Choose The Right Performance Management System
When and how should Performance Improvement Plans be Implemented?
The PIP is usually implemented when there is a poor performance by the employee, and the company wants to help the employee to meet the company standards. It is wise to implement a PIP when an employee consistently lags in their targets or fails to achieve the quality of work in accordance with the company’s expectations.
Set Clear Goals
The performance starts with a goal. That makes the goal to be the first thing that should come in your employees’ performance improvement plans. It should be precise and simple to understand.
When you set a goal that lacks clarity, it causes confusion. That leads to wasting a lot of time in pursuing the wrong direction or e have to put extra effort to solve employee queries. The ambiguity in the goals and target leads to multiple interpretations.
The employee needs to know exactly what is expected from them. If the manager and employee are not on the same page about their targets employee might make an effort for less significant tasks. That can be avoided by keeping managers informed on performance improvement plans so they can help employees in case of a lack of clarity.
When there is clarity on the goal and employees know exactly what’s expected from them, they can put focused effort into achieving targets. That improves the quality and quantity of the employee output and increases the organization’s productivity.
Design a Plan
You need well-defined steps for an effective performance improvement plan. Once the goals and objectives of the performance improvement plan are clear, you want to provide employees with a process to follow to achieve the PIP goals.
The employee is an essential element of the PIP, and you should make this plan with the employee. That makes it important to discuss a performance improvement plan with the employees.
You need to communicate with the staff to get insight into the challenges they are likely to face to achieve the targets. Discussing an employee performance improvement plan (PIP) with the employees also help you find the most effective steps to improve employee performance.
Create a Timeline Structure
Creating a timeline is important at every stage of a performance improvement plan. A PIP needs to have a deadline for the goals to be achieved as well as for the follow-up meetings. A PIP timeline makes it easy for you to review if an employee is performing in accordance plan.
It also makes it easy for the employees to understand if they are demonstrating poor performance and are in alignment with a PIP. As an employer, reviewing the employee’s performance and noticing a particular pattern or getting valuable data helps you make some important decisions.
For example, you might see an employee constantly performing poorly compared to other employees and timelines. If you see that all your employees are still struggling with poor performance or some team in particular, it indicates that you need to modify your PIP.
A PIP will help you understand what challenges your employees are facing. It also helps identify and get observation points to discuss with the employee that will help improve their performance.
Show the Support
The pip is aimed to improve the effectiveness of the employee’s performance. Having clear goals and the steps or plan to follow is not enough. You also need to provide the necessary support to your employees.
The support can start with trying to determine the reason for the poor performance. Sometimes this can be inefficient recruitment or onboarding to start with or a lack of skills to handle new responsibilities or extra workload.
The manager can be in the right person to help the employee in their growth as they can understand the reasons. The manager and the employer can identify the requirement of the skills and tools to improve performance.
Sometimes employees may need soft skills as well as technical skills training to meet the PIP goals. You can arrange some mentorship programs with the manager or subject matter expert to empower your employees. The manager can also ask employees for input on the type of training they would like to get to resolve the poor performance challenges that they are facing.
Regular Follow Up
Regular check-ins are important for the employee performance improvement plan. The employee needs to know where their performance stands with reference to the objective they need to achieve.
The company can have a schedule to make sure that the employees get one-on-one conversations with their manager regarding their performance. That can help you ensure regular check-ins.
An employee performance improvement plan (PIP) is a process that takes a long time and a lot of effort. Letting employees know where they are in reference to a performance improvement plan can help them to correct the course of action in time.
Managers and employees should have these regular meetings irrespective of their performance. If an employee is falling behind the targets and showing poor performance. In that case, they need to get some helpful directions and motivation to improve the effectiveness of their performance.
If the employee’s performance shows remarkable improvement, your employees need the appreciation they deserve. Recognising employee effort and achievement helps them to stay motivated for better performance.
Discuss the Stakes
As discussed above, you have to be supportive of your employees for the PIP to meet the goals. On the other side of the coin, you also need to ensure that your employees are well aware of any negative consequences they might be subjected to if they fail to meet the targets of an Employee Performance Improvement Plan.
The PIP is a process to help employees improve the effectiveness of their efforts so they can meet the company’s expectations. The plan is set to help employees provide the support and tools they need to meet the PIP objectives. The expected performance and the consequences if they fail to achieve the expectations must be very clear and transparent in a PIP.
How do you Improve the Effectiveness of the Employee Performance Improvement Plan?
Keeping employees engaged is a crucial factor in a performance improvement plan(PIP). Ensure that employees feel valued, the expectations are realistic, and the steps are practical.
Also Read: Employee Engagement: Why it is the need of hour?
Keep the lines of communication open to help employees when they face any challenges or have suggestions.
Focus on Positives
When focusing on performance improvement, it is essential to emphasise the positives instead of the negatives.
Check if your employees are mentally ready for the plan or are unable to pay attention due to some personal issues. While making an employee improvement plan, you need to be on the same page as the employee. It is a crucial stage for you to ensure that the employee is ready for the bit of the extra responsibility that the company trusts them with.
Stay in Touch
You can schedule regular intervals on which you want to meet and check employee performance but also give them a chance to speak and reward their effort.
What to keep in Mind about Privacy Concerns during a Performance Improvement Plan?
It’s crucial to ensure that employees’ privacy is not violated regarding communication. Many companies want to monitor official communication such as emails to customers and the colleague. Employees expect basic privacy when it comes to the communication they have involved in even when they are representing the company.
If the performance improvement plans need the communication to be tracked, it should be made clear to the employee and to be agreed upon. For example, if an employee works as a customer care executive, they should know that their calls and emails are being recorded. That is a scenario where it is okay to record the communication.
If an employee is not in the customer support team and finds that their personal comments from their personal social media accounts are being recorded they will see it as inappropriate.
The manager and employee need to be on the same page when it comes to confidentiality in performance improvement plans. A PIP is not necessarily confidential if the company policies do not specify that. Yet, if the pip involves some of the employee’s personal data, even using it for official purposes should require prior permission.
Employee performance improvement plans (PIP) are aimed at improving employee performance with focused effort. A PIP includes step by step guide for employees to achieve higher performance. The PIP has to be clear and drafted with precision.
The goals and the consequences of the PIP are important factors that the employees should understand with ease. The company should be careful about the privacy concerns of the employee during the implementation and should also provide employees necessary support for growth during the PIP.