Performance Improvement Plan
Ideally, employees perform exactly as expected 100% of the time. Unfortunately, this isn’t realistic. Employees need guidance and feedback in order to meet expectations. When employees are underperforming, a performance improvement plan (PIP) is a smart HR option that allows you to get employees back on track, avoiding the cost of recruiting another person for the position and improving morale. In situations in which employees refuse to do their jobs properly, it also provides employers with the legal documentation needed to prove that a dismissal is justified. If you would like to know more about the legal implications of a performance improvement plan and the specifics of the PIP process, it may help to discuss the issue with an employment lawyer from Priori Legal's vetted network.
The PIP Process
If you determine that an employee would benefit from a PIP, an HR representative or the manager of the at-risk worker will meet with the employee and explain the expectations of the position. This representative will also detail ways that the employee is not meeting these expectations. This meeting should include an open dialogue as well as feedback from the employee, so that all means of improvement can be established. The next step of the PIP process is issuing a formal written PIP, which details exactly what needs to be improved and how.
Each PIP will have a specific timeline, during which the employee will meet regularly with a supervisor to determine if objectives are being met. During each follow-up meeting, all metrics of success will be re-assessed for progress. At the specified end of the PIP, employees that meet the detailed expectations of the action plan will be returned to regular HR assessments and supervision. If the expectations are not appropriately met, predetermined consequences will be implemented.
Elements of a Successful PIP
A successful PIP must have several key elements. It should:
- State specific behaviors and performance issues to be improved using real workplace examples;
- Reiterate the performance expectations that must be met on a regular basis;
- Elaborate upon metrics used in assessing employee performance;
- Provide clear guidance on more appropriate behaviors and expected performance;
- Detail the ways management will support the employee’s improvement and resources available to enhance job performance;
- Establish how feedback will be provided on job performance over the course of the PIP;
- Specify a means of evaluation of the success of the PIP and potential consequences if performance is not adequately improved; and
- Define and expand upon relevant company policies that apply to the employee.
Depending on your needs, the cost of drafting a performance improvement plan can vary. Priori employment lawyers range in price from $150-$450 per hour depending on geography, speciality and experience. In order to get a better sense of cost for your particular situation, put in a request to schedule a complimentary consultation and receive free price quotes our lawyers.
Why are many PIPs viewed negatively?
Many employees view the PIP process as a way to criticize their work, a means to scrutinize their every action, or as the first step towards a dismissal. Unless company culture supports the use of a PIP as a supportive tool to genuinely reform and improve employee performance, it can quickly become reviled by staff.
What are my options if a PIP doesn’t work out?
A PIP is just one HR tool to incentivize and guide employees to perform better. If a performance improvement plan does not achieve its desired objectives, you can turn to more severe alternative HR solutions, such as suspension, transfer, demotion or dismissal.