Ask HR: What Is a Performance Improvement Plan?
Ask HR: What Is a Performance Improvement Plan?

Ask HR: What Is a Performance Improvement Plan?

You may or not be familiar with these three little letters: PIP. No, we're not talking about a character from Great Expectations. A PIP in the HR industry refers to a "Performance Improvement Plan." As HR professionals know, PIPs can be tricky. Employees don't generally want one, and managers may not want to give one.

Interested in knowing more about what PIPs are and what they entail? Check out this week's Ask HR column from the HR pros at HR Support Center.

Question:

We’re interested in implementing a performance improvement plan for one of our employees. What does it entail?

Answer from Margaret, HR Pro:

A performance improvement plan is a tool that employers can use to help underperforming employees succeed in the organization. The plan allows you to specify the company’s expectations with respect to employee performance and behavior and to define what success looks like going forward.

The plan itself can be detailed on a single-page form. For your convenience, we have a sample performance improvement plan document on the HR Support Center. In the document you will want to note the basic performance issue (e.g. efficiency, attendance), list examples of the employee’s performance deficiencies, and then state what actions you expect from the employee, how they should be accomplished, and in what timeframe they need to be completed. It is recommended that the plan also make it clear what the consequences will be for failing to meet and sustain improved performance.

As you do with every step of this process, document the meeting in which the performance improvement plan is implemented. You may also want to note that the performance plan is not intended to be an employment contract or guarantee of continuing employment.

The performance improvement plan also provides for follow-up meetings to discuss the employee’s progress. Upon the conclusion of the performance improvement plan, the company will make a decision as to the employee’s continued employment. We generally recommend that the life of the plan be two to three months. We also recommend either weekly or bi-weekly progress meetings with the employee.

If the employee continues to underperform or fails to sustain improved performance, you may need to move on to termination. In this case, you will have the documentation to demonstrate that you gave them a chance to improve. This record will make it more difficult for the employee to challenge the reason for a termination.


Margaret, HR ProMargaret holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Portland State University and a Professional Certificate in Human Resources Management. She has worked in a variety of HR roles in a multi-state capacity. Margaret regularly attends seminars and other continuing education courses to stay current with new developments and changes that affect the workplace and is active in local and national Human Resources organizations.


Do you have questions like this? One entire year of HR Support Center is cheaper than just one hour of a typical attorney's time. Ask us instead.

More to Discover

BUILD Web Summit - Build a Remote Workplace

BUILD Web Summit - Build a Remote Workplace

Remote employees are more common than ever before. Employing a remote workforce can retain top talent, reduce expenses, and boost engagement for your organization. Learn best practices for creating HR policies, training and engaging your remote employees, and supporting leaders. We will explore new trends of today’s remote workforce. Speaker: Sarah Laboranti Sarah Laboranti is a motivated HR professional with over nineteen years of experience. She is passionate about bringing new ideas to the workforce and leveraging HR’s important role in the organization. She has an upbeat attitude toward the role of Human Resources, in which HR is empowered to “do the right thing” for employees, leaders, the business, and the community.

Why HR & People Practices Struggle to Get C-Suite Support - Part 3

Why HR & People Practices Struggle to Get C-Suite Support - Part 3

It can be frustrating and demoralizing to present your ideas and initiatives to the C-Suite, only to have them relegated to the back burner. Without the resources and support to contribute in a more strategic and future-focused way, HR professionals are limited to focusing primarily on short-term issues. In this webinar, we'll diagnose any pitfalls or bad habits that are holding you back from getting buy in for the C-Suite. Speaker: Deb Calvert Deb Calvert is the president of People First Productivity Solutions where she works with HR and sales team to build organizational strength by putting people first. She is the co-author of “Stop Selling & Start Leading” and author of “DISCOVER Questions Get You Connected” (named one of The Top...

Why HR & People Practices Struggle to get C-Suite Support - Part 2

Why HR & People Practices Struggle to get C-Suite Support - Part 2

It can be frustrating and demoralizing to present your ideas and initiatives to the C-Suite, only to have them relegated to the back burner. Without the resources and support to contribute in a more strategic and future-focused way, HR professionals are limited to focusing primarily on short-term issues. In this webinar, we'll diagnose any pitfalls or bad habits that are holding you back from getting buy in for the C-Suite. Speaker: Deb Calvert Deb Calvert is the president of People First Productivity Solutions where she works with HR and sales team to build organizational strength by putting people first. She is the co-author of “Stop Selling & Start Leading” and author of “DISCOVER Questions Get You Connected” (named one of The Top...

Why HR & People Practices Struggle to get C-Suite Support - Part 1

Why HR & People Practices Struggle to get C-Suite Support - Part 1

It can be frustrating and demoralizing to present your ideas and initiatives to the C-Suite, only to have them relegated to the back burner. Without the resources and support to contribute in a more strategic and future-focused way, HR professionals are limited to focusing primarily on short-term issues. In this webinar, we'll diagnose any pitfalls or bad habits that are holding you back from getting buy in for the C-Suite. Speaker: Deb Calvert Deb Calvert is the president of People First Productivity Solutions where she works with HR and sales team to build organizational strength by putting people first. She is the co-author of “Stop Selling & Start Leading” and author of “DISCOVER Questions Get You Connected” (named one of The Top...