Do you have performance improvement plans (PIP)?

What do you do if an employee isn’t performing well? Should a formal performance improvement plan (PIP) be put in place?

Some companies don’t have any type of PIP at all. Other companies have a more formal process. Here are some tips if you do decide to have a PIP:

Never make the PIP a surprise - Any low performance should have been a discussion in previous one-on-one already.

Let the employee know a PIP is a possibility – Some people get close to a PIP, but manage to turn the ship around. Knowing that a PIP might be on the horizon is a powerful motivator.

Have more than just the other person present - The meeting is usually with the employee, the manager, and HR. If you do involve HR, some find it distracting, but some companies will prefer to have them present from the beginning.

Have an overall consistent flow for the PIP - For example:

Meet with the employee to discuss shortcomings

Develop plan during the meeting

Set up six weekly checkpoints

Discuss progress towards plan during each weekly checkpoint

During the week six checkpoint declare success or decide it is time to part ways

Draft a plan always with the employee’s input - That way it’s about how “we can improve together” and not just “I’m telling you what to change.”

Consider the cultural implications of a PIP - For some Watercooler members, PIPs work incredibly well for their team because their team thrives on having clear processes + structures in place. Another Watercooler shared how because 80%-90% of employees who were put on a PIP left the company during the PIP period, it culturally made the PIP “a herald of doom.”

Last updated