Performance Improvement Plan is a strategy usually undertaken as a collaborative effort between an employee and his/her supervisor to observe performance gaps and improve output. It is also known as Performance Action Plan. There can be so many reasons why an employee has a poor performance. It can be based on psychological problems, family problems, lack of clarity on his/her expected outcome on the job, overcrowded job schedules, lack of expertise, or the need for training.
It can help an employee to navigate performance barriers, acquire required training, discipline, relocation from a task, demotion and can even lead to job termination. If properly carried out, Performance Improvement Plan is, however, more of a dialogue and discussion between a supervisor and the affected employee on the way to get his performance on the track and become a better employee. In some cases, it can also be used to communicate job expectations and evaluation to a new employee.
Key Elements of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP):
In other to properly track the performance issues of an employee and address them formally, a supervisor needs to follow clearly verifiable steps that will ensure the employee involved is not being harassed or witch-hunted.
Document Performance Gaps
To start with, a supervisor should write down and clearly note the areas of gaps and problems in an employee’s performance. This gives the supervisor clarity and helps to clearly show the depth of such performance flaw and the needed help or reactions expected from the supervisor.
You may also need to state the exact performance required, the gaps created, the consequences, and with the signature of the supervisor. There is, however, a need for objectivity here. It is easy to resent an employee while trying to highlight his/her performance flaw. So, a supervisor should exercise discipline here.
Set Out a Plan
Having clearly noted the exact performance issues to be addressed, a supervisor can now go ahead and set out the action plans he’s putting forward to help or enable the employee involved improve his/her performance. This plan is still subject to modifications after meeting with the employee(s) concerned.
Evaluate the Plan
To help facilitate quality of plan and discourse as well as ensure the process is formal and legitimate, the supervisor should improve the management or Human Resources for professional inputs. This third party should contribute to the quality of the evaluation materials and advise where improvement is required. This will also help to remove the concern of trying to settle personal differences with the employee(s) involved.
Review with the Employee
After these preliminary steps, the supervisor can now approach the employee concerned with a well-written performance review and the needed support to help them. Performance issues will be discussed and areas of improvement with required steps are also to be clearly stated.
Check Feedback and Performance
The supervisor follows-up with the employee and can still have meetings with him/her until issues raised are addressed or further actions recommended by the supervisor. This also allows the employee to ask questions, take instructions and get directions where needed.
Here, the supervisor evaluates the employee’s response to the Performance Improvement Plan. He motivates him when there are clear improvements, recommends transfer or demotion if the employee struggles to handle his/her expected outcomes or, recommend terminations of employment if it is clear that the employee cannot/is unwilling manage required expectation.
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