A performance improvement plan is a formal process used by companies to help employees improve performance or modify behavior. Think of a PIP is as an interim performance evaluation that focuses on specific performance issues rather than overall performance.
Fundamentally, a PIP is a structured communication tool designed to facilitate constructive discussion between the employee and the supervisor. An effective PIP will:
- State performance to be improved; be specific and cite examples.
- State the level of work performance expectation and that it must be performed on a consistent basis.
- Identify and specify the support and resources you will provide to assist the employee.
- Communicate your plan for providing feedback to the employee. Specify meeting times, with whom and how often. Specify the measurements you will consider in the evaluating progress.
- Specify possible consequences if performance standards are not met.
- Provide sources of additional information such as the Employee Handbook.
A Performance Improvement Plan can be given in lieu of disciplinary action. PIPs are less discipline and more of a coaching system. Some common uses for the PIP include:
- To correct workplace behaviors affecting performance, productivity or staff relationships.
- On the heels of an unsatisfactory annual review.
- To provide employees an opportunity to correct a situation rather than implementing a more serious step in the disciplinary process.
For a full detailed list of suggested sample goals, see “Performance Improvement Plan Sample Goals” To learn how to use the downloadable spreadsheets, please see “Performance Improvement Plan Form Instructions”.