A performance improvement plan is a tool to give an employee with performance deficiencies the opportunity to succeed. It can be used to address failures in meeting specific job goals or to eliminate behavior-related concerns.
Performance improvement plans are a necessary component of our businesses because finding the right employees is hard. Once we hire on a team member, it’s best for our business to keep them versus having attrition.
Performance improvement plans should clearly define one to three areas of improvement.
If there are more than three areas to improve, I’d recommend thinking deeper about whether the employee is fit for the role.
Are you trying to have a fish climb a tree? If so, then it is not fair to your employee.
In conversation, directly ask your employee if they understand the areas of improvement.
I recommend you ask them the following questions:
- How would you rate your performance?
- Are the challenges you’re having due to a lack of will or skill?
- How would you make changes for improvement?
- Are you getting the support you need?
Performance improvement plans need to be time bound and consistent.
Check-in dates for improvement need to be set in stone, and reviews for improvement need to be agreed upon.
It is the manager’s responsibility to maintain this plan. Whether you set bi-weekly or monthly check-ins, the tone will need to be consistent. Your employees should understand that achievement of their goals is necessary to avoid further consequences.
You can view many online resources and a sample template here.
If you find that the majority of your organization is on a performance improvement plan, then you need to look at your target setting or hiring benchmarks. If you’re an individual contributor and want to maintain a high level of performance, I recommend reading books on peak performance. I really like Steven Kotler’s book “The Art of Impossible.”
What have you found to be useful in performance improvement plans?
I’d enjoy hearing your strategies in the comments below or on a call.