Best Practices - Correcting Performance with PIPs

When performance needs to improve, it may be time to enact an PIP - or - Performance Improvement Plan - for an employee. 

The goal of the PIP is to help realign the expectations of the company with the behaviors and outcomes of the employee. When done right, a PIP is a tool to empower meaningful communication and goals regarding performance. A PIP is also a time period for both you and the employee to decide if continuing employment is the right fit for both parties. 

As you start to approach potentially needing a PIP, here are some key things to remember: 

  • Involve your HR team early in the process
  • Document the performance issues, and any conversations you have with the employee as they occur in Trakstar's note feature. This is a great time to use private notes
  • Take action early - if you are starting to think "this employee may need to be on a PIP" - it is probably already time

Watch below (and read on!) to learn more about the PIP process. 

When you (along with your HR team) decide it is time to start the PIP, here are key things to do:

  • Outline the objectives for successful completion of a PIP
    • What behaviors are you looking to change or improve?
  • Tie every item to specific, measurable outcomes
  • Remember that "Clear is Kind" - make your points succinct and clear. 
  • Once you have the points you'd like to discuss in the PIP outlined, set a meeting with the employee to review the terms of the PIP. Once reviewed, the PIP should be signed by both HR and the employee
    • Check for understanding when presenting this to the employee
    • Give the employee time to digest and come back with more questions
    • Be aware that this may stir up emotions for the employee - give them space to feel these feelings
      • While it shouldn't be a surprise to the employee that the PIP is needed, seeing it in writing, and knowing that HR (etc) are involved may stir up more emotion

After the PIP terms are agreed upon, make an Ad Hoc Review in Trakstar to document the progress of the PIP

Want to turn on the Perform module for your account? Reach out!

Need help with ideas on what to include in a PIP? Find an example form here!

  • Schedule regular checkins (at least once a week) throughout the duration of the PIP, to update on progress made towards goals
    • Continue to document inside of your Trakstar notes
  • Enroll the employee in relevant courses in the learning module to address any gaps in knowledge. Need to add e-learning? Reach out for more information!

What do you do when the duration of the PIP is over?

A PIP concludes with one of 3 results:

  • Behaviors and results improve, and the PIP is removed - the employee returns to normal duties
    • Make sure the keep tabs on these metrics for a number of months afterwards, to make sure behaviors stick. Consider using a manager checkin survey to automate these checks
  • Behavior has began to get better, but more improvement is needed
    • Consider extending the PIP, if meaningful progress is made
    • Have a discussion with the employee about the extended period
    • Make a new ad-hoc review to document this additional time
  • Behavior is not improved, and progress is not being made
    • At this point (in coordination with your own HR policies) it is time to consider ending employment
      • Follow all of your team's HR policies in this regard
    • Review your Succession Plan to determine if you have in-house folks to fill this slot
    • If not, post a job opening on the Hire Module, to get started on a backfill. Need help writing a job description? Read our expert tips here

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