Sometimes an employee’s personal life can temporarily affect their work, causing their performance to slip. That’s completely normal. But when you notice that an employee is consistently struggling, missing deadlines, missing work, or just generally disengaged from the company, it’s probably a good time to initiate a performance improvement plan (PIP).
A performance improvement plan is a structured, formal document that typically addresses performance or behavioral issues and includes clear steps for getting an employee back on track. These plans can also be used for new employees during a probation period.
Traditionally, a performance improvement plan is a method used to retain a valued employee who has shown an unusual drop in performance. Most performance improvement plans last from 30 – 90 days and can be the last stage before termination, though that is not always the case. A well-structured plan should include input from the employee and their manager, and all parties should be committed to the solving the problem.
Many employers have questions about when to use a performance improvement plan. In most cases, a plan is created:
Create Your Account Today
A performance improvement plan gives a once-valuable employee feedback on exactly where they need to improve, and it empowers them to take control and fix the problem. It also shows them that you are invested in their success. Equally important, it helps protect your employer brand, and it could save you from litigation if performance doesn’t improve and you are forced to terminate the relationship.
In the case of new employees, a performance improvement plan can communicate your expectations for the position and give them an opportunity to experience success early in employment. Consider creating a plan as part of your regular onboarding process.
Effective performance improvement plans generally include:
There are some circumstances where it doesn’t make sense to implement a performance improvement plan. Those include:
Now that you know when to use a performance improvement plan, you might be wondering how to get started. There are countless examples of performance improvement plans and free templates online. There are also consultants who are dedicated to helping companies like yours initiate and direct performance plans and many offer independent arbitration. Finally, ask colleagues for recommendations, reach out to professional groups, or contact Customer Success at iHire for advice on getting started.
Initiating a performance plan is never easy, but if it is successful, you can potentially retain a valuable employee, avoid costly litigation, protect your employer brand, and your company will benefit.