PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PLANS
Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) are a management tool used to assist performance improvement of underperforming employees or those employees who have demonstrated unsatisfactory behaviour and conduct in the workplace. PIPs should be implemented as a consequence of performance management/disciplinary counselling meetings or informal discussions with employees regarding their performance/conduct deficiencies. A PIP should not be issued to an employee without prior consultation of the worker and an opportunity for both parties to discuss and agree upon performance goals.
Essential features include:
PIPs are a useful tool for ensuring procedural fairness is observed when managing worker performance and provides benefits for both employees and their superiors. Used as a remedial tool when performance is deemed to be capable of improvement, PIPs provide employees with an opportunity to consciously work on their performance, to learn new skills and prove their commitment to their role and the organisation. A PIP combined with a formal disciplinary / performance management process is also used to put an employee on notice that if their performance does not improve in the designated time-frame in a specified way their employment could be at risk. For Managers, PIPs allow close monitoring of employee progress against specific standards within a set timeframe. This allows easier decision making in the future
and will assist in proving employees have been afforded procedural fairness if further disciplinary action or termination occur due to lack of improvement.
IMPORTANCE OF ENVIRONMENT
When setting PIPs, it is important to keep environmental factors in mind as they will likely have an impact on the employee’s performance, albeit if even in a minor way.
Employers need to be realistic and consider the impacts of external forces when assessing employee’s contribution to organisational performance. Some examples may include:
Accordingly, employers need to fairly assess the likely cause for the underperformance / behaviour and refrain from taking rash action against employees for factors beyond their control.
Internal environmental factors at an organisational level may also have a bearing on how an employee is performing and/or their behaviour. Some examples may include;
It is also important to accurately assess the personal circumstances impacting upon an employee’s performance and/or behaviour in the workplace. These factors should all be assessed in the performance management / disciplinary meeting and discussed with the employee. For more information, please see the Template – Performance management meeting record.