A common outcome of yearly performance reviews are performance improvement plans (PIPs). PIPs are a formalized plan to improve the performance of employees with performance issues. PIPs can be an outstanding tool for improvement performance when executed correctly, and can bring struggling employees back on the right track.

Here are some ways to ensure your company and your employees get the most out of its PIPs.

Outline What Needs to be Improved

A performance improvement plan is something that managers should use when the performance of an employee is an issue that requires intervention. Issues could be performance based or behavioral based. If you have an employee whose performance is lacking and you are considering either a transfer, demotion or firing, a performance improvement plan is often the next step.

The first step of establishing a PIP is to outline clearly where the employee is falling short. Write down where their performance currently ranks, and how it doesn’t meet the expectations of their role. Clearly outline how current performance isn’t meeting standards of the company and for how long this has been an issue. Any documentation of performance issues should be included in this assessment as support for why the PIP should take place.

Set Improvement Goals

The next step of setting a successful PIP is to establish how employees will improve their performance over the length of the plan. Often, this will result in setting clear performance goals for employees for the duration of the plan, and steps to achieve each goal. When setting goals, make sure that they are SMART goals and are reasonable for the timeframe of PIP.

Once your goals are set, your PIP should establish a timeline for when those goals should be met, and what support you will be providing the employee to achieve those goals. You should also outline what is expected of the employee in meeting those goals, and the consequences of what will happen if the goals are not met.

Performance Improvement vs. Performance Development

Improving performance and developing performance sound similar but have important distinctions.

A company’s performance development plan (PDP) is often company or department-wide. Whether that includes online courses, on-the-job training or a different method of skill development, a PDP is broad and can apply to many employees.

PIPs need to be more detailed and work in conjunction with a PDP. A PIP is an opportunity for a manager to work closely with an employee, develop specific goals and improving a lacking performance.

When establishing your PIP, be sure to evaluate your PDP and outline where the PIP and PDP align. As PIPs are often about pressing matter of performance, it is likely that the goals of PIP will not overlap directly with your PDP. Keep in mind, however, that goals from your PIP should keep any development planning in mind, and consider your long term performance development plan in outlining where performance should improve.

What to Include in PIPs

A successful PIP should include the following details:

  • Clear goals for what the employee should achieve by the end of the performance improvement plan.
  • A clear statement of exactly which aspects of the employee’s current performance need improvement, with examples.
  • Detail what the consequences could be if performance is not achieved.
  • A schedule for regular check in and following up with your employee.

With the BirdDogHR Performance Management system, your organization can work to improve performance. Contact us or schedule a demo today for more information on how we can provide you with the industry’s best tools to create the most effective PIPs for your team.