Performance Improvement Plans

Sales are the life blood of any business, if you don’t make sales you are not in business! Dependent on the type of business you run; product or service based, you’ll have a strategy for sales and growing your market share, and to achieve that you’ll have weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual targets for your revenue and profits.

Regardless of an individual’s role within your organisation, their input will lead (either directly or indirectly) to the sales and the growth of your empire. This means if an individual isn’t pulling his/her weight, it needs to be address and rectified as soon as possible, as time is money!

Often, staff who don’t directly affect the bottom line of the business can find it difficult to equate their role to the success of the businesss, and so do not work as effectively or efficiently as is required.

I helped a client create a performance improvement plan (PIP) for their receptionist who was surprised to be placed on a PIP, as so came in on time, left on time and answered the phones. She didn’t see how the ‘small’ things that she didn’t do, or complete with urgency and quality made a difference to the business as a whole. For example she would take a telephone message, but not pass it on straight away, but after she’d finished the task she had in hand. More than once this meant that someone headed out of a meeting, only to find it had been cancelled when they’d almost reached their destination. This was costly for the business, it meant lost time and expense for travel.

So what is a Performance Improvement Plan?

A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is a great way to give a struggling employee the opportunity to improve, while holding them accountable for past performance

A Performance Improvement Plan is a formal document used to demonstrate underperformance and give detailed SMART objectives for improvement.

You should create an action plan and have a meeting with the individual concerned. The action plan should include the following:

  • Description of the issue(s)
  • Details of discussions regarding the issue(s)
  • Objectives going forward
  • Timelines for reviewing objectives
  • Any Training required

Remember your objectives need to be SMART!!

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Generally a PIP lasts between 2 weeks to 2 months (it can also be extended, but we’ll be to that later!).

You must regularly review performance, no less than weekly.

At the review meetings you should be discussing the following:

  • Progress with meeting objectives
  • Any mitigation in meeting objectives
  • Any support and/or training provided
  • General wellbeing /stress management

At the end of your PIP period, you can come to one of the following outcomes:

  1. PIP Passed Successfully – Keep the document on file 6 months
  2. PIP Period is Extended – Have a further review after agreed period
  3. PIP Failed – Commence disciplinary process

I hope this helps you with dealing with your poor performing team members, generally once you are clear about your expectations and a formal process commences, most employees improve.

If you need help with your people management basics, our management fundamentals online course is for you, just click the link for more information.