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Kate Devyatkina

CEO at 100pcnt

September 5, 2019How to

How to Write a Performance Improvement Plan

Any workplace requires employee feedback, and it is very crucial. Feedback helps either improve efficiency or boost productivity, or promotes employees’ growth and development of their overall skills.

There are several ways to deliver feedback:
- Informal: through discussions or public praise.
- Formal: through annual performance reviews and 1-to-1 meetings.

In both variants, employee feedback should be delivered right after because it has the power to solve any performance issues in real-time. Below you’ll find a personal improvement plan. 

As a rule, not all the employees bring the feedback received from their managers to life.

There are many reasons for this:
- An absence of a clear understanding of performance expectations.
- Not enough resources or proper training
- Some personal issue is distracting them. 

  • How are you going to hold your employees responsible for their poor performance?

    The first way is to use a performance improvement plan – a document tht reflects performance goals and issues to improve an employee's overall performance within a certain timeframe. This goes after two repeated officially documented offenses (these offenses should be communicated clearly by a manager to the employee).

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    While being an essential part of overall performance management, it tends to have doubtful results if it is implemented incorrectly. Usually it seems like a punishment when it focuses on past employee performance rather than development. In the performance improvement plans template, you’ll find all the information on how to do this. Try to convey that the performance improvement plan is for their benefit, to help them succeed. As a result, employees’ poor performance will improve through reaching attainable improvement goals set by a manager.

  • Employee performance improvement suggestions:

    1. Analysis of their past and current job performance. What was the overall performance history? Any of the same issues? Were they properly documented?

    2. Establish a precise deadline for an explanation of expected performance. When should this goal be completed? The performance improvement plans template shows that you should take into account all the nuances: your own practices and procedures, the job’s nature and job description, your resources within the workplace, the employee’s personal circumstances and past performance (and don’t forget about agreement with a trade union).

    3. A performance action plan, with clear consequences and expectations. Your performance development plan goals should be established as soon as possible, and should be set using SMART criteria (Specific, Accurate, Relevant, and Time-bound). Make sure to identify any additional action (often disciplinary) if progress isn’t made.

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    4. Training, time and specific resources needed for meeting these goals. Does the employee need educational materials (new desk supplies or a workbook) or training to develop their skills required to complete all of the stated goals? Will the employee need to pool resources to complete their goals?

    5. Regular performance improvement plan progress meetings with manager. They should have a regularity. Set a timeline of such meetings. You should have several meetings over a given time period (for midpoint check-in and follow-ups). It is done to be able to track the progress before the goal is expected to be completed. Plan in advance your check-in meetings, scheduling them to suit both your and your employee’s calendars.

    Before you get started with developing your own, have a look at the performance improvement plan templates that are available online. These templates are quite broad and may not fit your situations of performance issues, workplace and employees. They are only suggestions.

    Performance improvement plan example: a goal could be to create smaller deadlines with some specific tasks over a really long period of time if an employee misses a deadline. If an employee usually misses a monthly deadline, think about creating a timeline of daily or weekly targets with smaller tasks to assist the employee to make progress towards the whole monthly deadline.

    Examples of misbehavior, where such a plan would be applicable:
    - Skipping meetings
    - Making disrespectful comments towards teammates
    - Acting unprofessionally towards clients
    - Failing to meet deadlines

  • How to fight a performance improvement plan?

    You don’t need to fight it. Remember that it is aimed at your improvement as an employee. Do not consider it as a punishment. Take it seriously and to heart, and you will become a better you with improved performance. 

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    Although performance improvement plans can be a useful tool for solving problems, in some cases they can be used against an employee. It may seem to be the last step before firing an employee that is simply delaying the inevitable. 

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