The very mention of the words “performance improvement plan” in many workplaces can cause the theme from Jaws to play in employees’ heads. That’s because performance improvement plans (PIPs for short) have been cast in a primarily negative light due their frequent use strictly as a way to document poor performance before terminating an employee, rather than as a coaching tool to help improve employee performance and maintain the employment relationship. However, when used correctly, a PIP can be an effective way to help an employee who is underperforming in the workplace, and PIPs shouldn’t just be used as the first step in a termination process.
Clear Company reported that 92% of employees agree that negative feedback is effective at improving their performance at work when delivered appropriately, yet only 21% of employees agree that their work performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. Clearly, there’s a substantial gap between effective feedback and delivery. But it’s not that employees don’t want this feedback. A survey by Benefits Bridge showed 65% of employees wanted more feedback from supervisors for improving their performance.
While coaching and independent, case-by-case feedback from management can and should be used in the right settings, there are many benefits to be gained from taking a formal approach. A good PIP provides a roadmap for intervention in the employee’s performance issues, addressing concerns, providing feedback, and setting goals to determine whether an employee has successfully completed the PIP, or whether at the end of the plan there is more to do.
PIPs should be viewed as agreements between the employee and management to collaborate to improve the employee’s performance. All employees deserve the chance to improve their performance before being terminated or receiving some type of discipline. Download our FREE Effective Performance Improvement Plan Guide, which breaks down PIPs and discusses how they can help bring about the change both employees and managers need.
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