How to Deliver a Performance Improvement Plan to an Employee

Understanding What a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is and Its Purpose

performance improvement plan

Have you ever heard of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)? It is a formal document that outlines an employee’s performance problems and the steps they need to take to improve their work quality and productivity. The main purpose of a PIP is to help employees address their weaknesses and improve their performance so they can continue their employment with the company.

A PIP is typically used for employees who are not meeting their performance standards or haven’t been able to reach their goals. It can also be used as a way to document an employee’s performance issues before making a decision about their employment status.

It is important to note that a PIP is not intended to punish employees for their poor performance. Instead, it is seen as a tool to help employees improve their skills, knowledge, and abilities.

The first step in delivering a PIP is to identify the employee’s performance problem. This can be done through regular performance evaluations or through feedback from managers, co-workers, or customers. Once the problem has been identified, the manager should schedule a meeting with the employee to discuss the PIP.

During the meeting, the manager should explain the purpose of the PIP and how it can help the employee improve their performance. They should also explain the specific areas in which the employee needs to improve and set goals for improvement.

It is important for the employee to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them during the PIP process. The manager should provide a written copy of the PIP and go over it with the employee to ensure they understand what they need to do to improve their performance.

Throughout the PIP process, the manager should provide regular feedback and support to the employee. They should monitor the employee’s progress and provide additional training or resources if necessary. The manager should also regularly check in with the employee to ensure they are on track to meet their goals.

At the end of the PIP process, the manager should conduct a final evaluation of the employee’s performance and determine if they have met their goals. If the employee has successfully improved their performance, they can continue their employment with the company. If they have not met their goals, the manager may need to consider other options, such as reassignment or termination.

Overall, a PIP can be a valuable tool for improving employee performance and addressing performance concerns. By delivering a PIP in a supportive and constructive manner, managers can help employees reach their full potential and contribute to the success of the company.

Identifying the Need for a PIP

Identifying the Need for a PIP

If an employee is struggling to perform their job duties to the best of their ability, you might need to start thinking about introducing a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). However, before you start whipping up a PIP, it’s best to take some time to identify if a PIP is truly the right solution for your employee’s struggles. Below are a few key indicators that will help you determine if a PIP is the way to go:

1. Consistent Underperformance

If the employee continues to underperform despite being given feedback and chances to improve, it’s time to start thinking about creating a PIP. Consistent underperformance can be a liability to the company, so addressing the issue with a PIP early may be critical. In this situation, a PIP should include detailed and achievable performance goals.

2. Non-Compliance with Company Policies or Procedures

Non-compliance with company policies or procedures can significantly impact workplace productivity, and in some cases, company reputation. All employees are expected to comply with these policies, as non-compliance can result in legal liabilities for the company. In this situation, it’s essential to create a PIP that emphasizes the importance of following set policies and procedures, and provide the necessary feedback, coaching, and training to the employee. The PIP should specifically outline the steps that the employee should take to ensure that they are operating within the company’s expectations.

3. Essential Job Duties are Not Being Performed

Employees who consistently fall short of performing their essential job duties are creating a burden for their coworkers. In some cases, essential job duties not being performed can have legal implications for the company, and addressing this issue with a PIP may be necessary. In this situation, the PIP should establish clear performance expectations, deadlines, and measurable performance outcomes that must be met in order to remain employed.

4. Professional Standards and Ethics

Professional standards and ethics are an essential part of a healthy workplace culture. In some cases, employees may not completely understand or abide by the ethical standards that the company has established. In others, employees may take actions that are deeply conflicting with company values. In these scenarios, it’s essential to create a PIP that emphasizes the expected behaviors, highlights the company’s ethical standards, outlines how maintaining ethical conduct is critical for maintaining the employee’s employment status, and provides feedback, coaching, and training to the employee.

5. Attitude and Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal communication and workplace relationships are an essential part of a positive workplace culture. However, these skills are not easy to master, which leads to some employees struggling to work effectively with their coworkers. In situations where attitude and interpersonal skills are consistently inadequate, creating a PIP may be necessary. The PIP should outline expectations for professionalism, communication, and collaboration and should include clear improvement goals and milestones that must be met.

Before creating a PIP, it is essential to ensure that any employee who will be impacted, including the HR department and the employee’s direct supervisor, is aware of the impending PIP. With the right guidance, feedback, and support, an employee can, in most cases, improve their performance and reach their goals outlined in the PIP. Creating a PIP is the right choice, but it should not be done in haste. With careful deliberation and clear performance goals, a PIP can be an effective way to help employees regain their footing and get back to performing at their best.

Tips for Creating an Effective PIP

Tips for Creating an Effective PIP

A Performance Improvement Plan, PIP in short, is a tool utilized by organizations to help employees improve their performance and align their objectives with the company. The process allows organizations to provide employees with the opportunity to improve in areas where they might be lagging by giving them actionable steps in their development plan. A successful PIP will have a positive impact on employee retention, morale, and productivity.

Here are three useful tips for creating an effective PIP:

1. Be Specific and Clear

Clarity is key when creating a PIP. Therefore, the content of the PIP must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). These should be directly linked to the goals and objectives of the organization and the employee. When creating a PIP, make sure that the employee understands the expectations and requirements of the plan. This requires clarity in both the language and the objectives of the PIP.

Start by indicating the areas of specialization that need improvement. Additionally, describe the existing performance levels and compare them to the expected levels. Also, include ways to measure the progress made by the employee during the PIP period.

2. Involve the Employee

It’s essential that the employee is involved in the creation and execution of their PIP. When employees participate in the process, they feel ownership of their performance and are more invested in their success. Encourage the employee to provide suggestions and ideas on how to improve their performance so that they feel a sense of responsibility and commitment towards the achievement of their objectives.

Involve the employee early on in the process, and make sure that they understand the challenges of the organization and how their performance relates to the overall goals of the company. Allow the employee to give feedback on the PIP’s objectives, target dates, and performance measurements to make it a collaborative process.

3. Offer Support and Resources

Offer Support and Resources

The objective of a PIP is to help the employee improve their performance. Therefore, the PIP must provide support, resources, and feedback mechanisms to facilitate employee growth and development. Resources might include specific training programs and opportunities to shadow other high-performing employees or mentors. Feedback and support mechanisms may take the form of regular check-ins, progress reports, or performance reviews. This feedback mechanism is essential to track the employee’s progress and ensure the PIP’s success.

Offering support is also an excellent way to build trust and a healthy employer-employee relationship. As the organization provides support, the employee is more likely to feel valued, empowered, and motivated to continue delivering results.

In conclusion, creating an effective PIP is a collaborative process between the organization and the employee. It requires clarity, involvement, and support for the employee to enhance their performance. PIP’s allow companies to achieve their goals and objectives, retain employees, increase productivity, and boost morale.

Key Elements to Include in a PIP


Whenever an employee is not meeting performance expectations, a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) may be necessary. A PIP is an opportunity to inform the employee about their shortcomings and give them a chance to meet the organization’s goals. The goal is to provide clear guidance on what the employee needs to do to improve their performance. A well-crafted PIP should include the following four key elements:

1. Specific Goals and Expectations

Specific Goals and Expectations

The PIP should outline the specific goals and expectations for the employee. This should be done in specific, measurable terms, and should be well-defined. For example, the goal may be a 25% increase in sales within the next three months. It is essential to be clear about what the employee is expected to achieve and how their performance will be measured. This will help the employee to focus on what is important and provide a basis for assessing their progress.

2. Timeline for Improvement

Timeline for Improvement

The PIP should provide a clear timeline for improvement. This will help the employee to understand what is expected of them and by when. The timeline should be realistic and achievable, given the employee’s level of experience and the resources available to them. Including a timeline can be an excellent way to motivate the employee and give them a sense of urgency to improve their performance.

3. Resources and Support

Resources and Support

The PIP should identify the resources and support that will be available to the employee to help them achieve their performance goals. This may include training, coaching, mentoring, or other resources that the employee may need. Identifying the resources and support upfront can help the employee to understand that the organization is invested in their success and can help to build their confidence.

4. Consequences of Failure

Consequences of Failure

The PIP should also outline the consequences of failing to achieve the specific goals. This may include disciplinary action, reduction in pay, or even termination of employment. It’s important to communicate the consequences of failing to meet expectations upfront to ensure that everyone is on the same page. The goal of outlining consequences is not to scare the employee, but to create a sense of accountability and provide a clear understanding of the outcome if the employee does not show improvement within the timelines provided.

In conclusion, delivering a PIP is not an easy task, but when done correctly, it can help employees improve their performance and achieve their goals. The key to a successful PIP is to be clear, specific, and supportive while outlining the consequences of failing to meet the goals. With these key elements in mind, the PIP can be a valuable tool for both the employee and the organization.

How to Deliver a PIP to an Employee in a Professional Manner


Delivering a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) to an employee is a delicate process that requires a tactful and professional approach. The aim is not to discourage or undermine the employee but to provide support and guidance to help them improve their performance. Here are some practical tips on how to deliver a PIP to an employee in a professional manner:

1. Schedule a Meeting


Before delivering a PIP, schedule a meeting with the employee to discuss their performance issues and expectations. The meeting should be conducted in a private setting and at a time when both parties are available and calm. Let the employee know in advance that you would like to discuss their performance and that you will be sharing a PIP with them.

2. Be Specific and Objective

Specific and Objective

A PIP should contain specific and objective measures that the employee needs to improve upon. Avoid subjective comments or personal opinions that may come across as biased or unfair. Be clear about the expectations, timelines and consequences of not meeting the required standards.

3. Listen to the Employee


When delivering a PIP, it is important to listen to the employee’s perspective and feedback. Allow them to express their views and provide suggestions on how they can improve their performance. This can help to create a sense of ownership and commitment to the process, which can lead to better outcomes.

4. Provide Support and Resources


A PIP is not just about identifying problems, but also providing solutions and support to help the employee overcome their challenges. Offer resources such as training, coaching or mentoring that can enhance their knowledge and skills. Be available to answer questions and provide ongoing feedback throughout the process.

5. Follow Up Regularly

Follow Up

Following up on the progress of a PIP is crucial to ensuring its effectiveness. Schedule regular meetings with the employee to review their progress, address any concerns and provide feedback. Celebrate successes and adjust the plan when necessary to keep the employee motivated and engaged. Remember to document all interactions and outcomes for future reference.

In conclusion, delivering a PIP to an employee can be challenging but can also be a positive and rewarding process. By following these tips, you can help to ensure that the process is conducted in a professional and supportive manner that promotes growth and development.

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