How To Create A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) – Forbes Advisor

The process of creating a performance improvement plan doesn’t have to be complicated. In short, start by first determining if a PIP is the best course of action for your employee and your organization. If this is the case, create a plan and meet with the employee to share the plan before then giving them time before accessing their improvement over a set period of time, usually within 30 to 120 days, depending on the role.

How to create a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) in five steps:

1. Determine if a PIP is appropriate

PIPs are suitable for every situation. For example, if an employee creates a toxic work environment and negatively impacts other employees, termination may be necessary. On the other hand, if an employee’s challenges are relatively minor, an informal conversation may be more appropriate.

2. Come up with a plan

Before creating a performance improvement plan, a manager should develop a plan. What would a successful performance improvement plan include? What does success look like for the employee? How will the employee interpret and respond to the performance improvement plan? The manager should review these questions, determine if the company has used PIPs in the past, and create an implementation plan.

Once the manager has a plan, the PIP should be discussed with the company’s human resources department, if one exists. HR may have sample PIPs that the manager can use as a template and guide the manager in PIP creation and implementation. Human resources also keeps copies of the PIP and tracks the employee’s progress (or lack thereof).

3. Meet with the relevant employee

A successful PIP involves a discussion between the manager and the employee (and sometimes a staff representative). Without a conversation, an employee can easily misinterpret a performance improvement plan or make incorrect assumptions about the PIP. By speaking with the employee, the manager can provide context for the improvements outlined and answer any questions the employee may have.

4. Monitor employee progress

A performance improvement plan is only as good as its accountability. Failure to follow the improvements and consequences of the plan will defeat the purpose of the PIP and tell employees not to take PIPs seriously.

Typically, performance improvement plans are tracked and have milestones at 30, 60, and 90 days. The time allocated is generally proportionate to the role and should allow the employee a realistic amount of time to improve. Organizations generally expect an improvement after 90 to 120 days, otherwise performance is unlikely to improve.

5. Access your employee

If the employee does not meet the criteria listed in the PIP, the manager must decide on the next steps. Ideally, the PIP will contain a set of consequences so that there is some flexibility. Ultimately, however, the manager—perhaps in cooperation with HR—must decide whether it is worth the time and effort to continue working with the employee.

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