Performance Improvement Plan

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Health Assured team

16 December 2021

A performance improvement plan offers a proactive approach to employee performance concerns.

The tool helps employees overcome behavioural and performance-related issues at work. The performance improvement plan acts as a practical guide to help employees, managers and HR teams resolve conflicts before they become serious.

This guide will cover performance improvement plans from an employer perspective. We’ll look at when to use a performance improvement plan and the benefits it can bring.

We’ll also cover how to write a performance improvement plan for employees in your workplace when it’s needed.

When to use a performance improvement plan

A (PIP) performance improvement plan helps to address a variety of employee problems. It reduces the need to let employees go. It also increases employee engagement and improves the workplace atmosphere.

Here are some recommendations about when to use a performance improvement plan in your organisation.

Start with an open conversation

Before jumping into an improvement plan, start with an open, honest conversation. Sometimes life’s challenges can take their toll, whether health concerns, family issues or financial worries.

These struggles impact employees' work performance. So, make sure you address these potential outside influences.

It isn’t always easy to have these conversations at work. But open communication in the workplace is extremely important. When you are honest and supportive with employees, they are more likely to open up.

Try to identify the root cause of the behaviour or action if possible. Once you know the cause, you can determine whether a performance improvement plan is necessary.

Behavioural issues

It’s possible to use a performance improvement plan for behaviour-related concerns. The plan can help employees who are verbally abusive, causing disruption or not completing work to a good standard.

But disciplinary procedures may need to be used as well if behaviour persists.

A performance plan aids employees to identify patterns of problematic behaviour. Then, it lays out the steps necessary to change it for the better. Include the specific behavioural incidents in the plan so employees know exactly where they need to improve.

Work performance

When employees who normally perform well seem to decline, a performance improvement plan can help them regain control.

When using the plan to address performance, try to quantify targets and goals where possible. Then the employee has something to work towards.

These goals can help rekindle their motivation and desire to complete the job to a high standard.

Attendance & punctuality

Another area that works with a performance improvement plan is attendance and punctuality.

Because this issue is easily measurable, managers can set clear goals, improvements, and timelines.

The plan helps to monitor attendance and punctuality, which highlights the need for a change.

Developing a performance improvement plan

A successful performance improvement plan provides specific, measurable objectives. It’s detailed, informative and offers clear guidance.

Below we’ve put together some tips to help you develop a performance improvement plan that works.

Identify the reason the behaviour or actions need to change.

This helps employees to understand why the improvement plan is necessary. It could be customer complaints, not meeting objectives or conflict with colleagues.

Set performance improvement plan objectives.

State the goal as clearly and detailed as possible. Make sure the goals are realistic and achievable.

Include a time scale for these goals where possible and check in regularly with employees to see how they are doing.

Some organisations like to use a 90-day performance improvement plan to measure the changes made. Start small. Time-structured plans encourage employees to keep achieving and setting new goals as they progress.

Address the need for any extra training, support, and time.

If employees are undertaking more work or attending training sessions, they will need support to make this happen.

For example, if employees struggle with customer service, you could provide training to develop their skills. Support from line managers can also help. So, it may be a good idea to schedule regular performance improvement plan meetings each week.

Benefits of performance improvement plans

Employee improvement performance plans have a plethora of benefits. They can help keep employees on track, reduce the need for more serious intervention and increase team communication. We’ve outlined some more of the benefits below.

Employee development

A performance improvement plan helps employees take on new challenges in their roles and gain new skills. Employees may discover new areas they wish to progress into. During the process, they may also uncover further development or career progression needs.

Increased engagement & productivity

When you give employees objectives and goals to strive towards, they become more engaged with their workload. They have priorities and structure to their working day and an aim to focus on. Productivity is boosted as a result, which has positive effects on workplace morale too.

Increased retention & turnover

The performance improvement plan process helps employees to overcome conflicts and succeed. It reduces the need for terminations or demotions and reduces staff turnover rates. The working environment improves, and it encourages employees to remain at your organisation.

Get help with performance improvement plans from Health Assured

Our Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) helps you look after your employees when they are experiencing difficulties.

We offer a 24/7, 365 helpline with trained counsellors, as well as legal, financial, and medical support. Employees can access this service anytime, anywhere. When you support employees in this way, their mental health and performance at work will improve.

We also offer a support line for managers to guide them in dealing with workplace issues and improving their employee recognition skills. We can assist you to create performance improvement plans that work.

Our wellbeing experts can offer guidance and support on keeping your employees motivated and happy. Get in touch today on 0844 891 0353

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