6 Steps to Create a Performance Improvement Plan
- Mar 23, 2023
- Marta Gongos
- 0 Comments
Hiring talent is just the start—you need your employees to excel!
Responding to subpar performance is one of the most challenging aspects of people management that employers experience. There are plenty of reasons for underwhelming work performance, including a lack of proper training, miscommunication, and burnout.
What should you do if your team isn’t meeting reasonable expectations? One way to address this is by creating and implementing a performance improvement plan. This is a tool for optimizing performance via talent management and goal-oriented strategies.
In this article, you’ll find out how you can draft an effective performance improvement plan policy for your team.
What Is a Performance Improvement Plan?
This formal document is usually designed by an employee’s supervisor in tandem with the company’s HR manager. It outlines customized strategies for employees to enhance their productivity, both in terms of quantity and quality.
A performance improvement plan should:
- Identify existing performance concerns or behavioural issues
- Encourage open dialogue to discuss possible causes of inconsistent performance
- Provide actionable and achievable solutions to identified issues
- Ensure the employee has a clear understanding of how to upgrade performance
- Foster a positive, healthy work culture to reduce staff turnover
- Suggest additional skills training or new tools if needed
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A performance improvement plan should include:
- Clear and quantifiable goals
- A realistic timeline
- Actionable and achievable steps
Ultimately, this plan should foster professional development and help employees achieve success in their chosen career path. By providing employees with the resources they need to grow and succeed, they will be better equipped to contribute to the success of the company. This will create a more dynamic and productive work environment and a more successful organization overall.
The Elements Of A Performance Improvement Plan
As far as performance plans go, more thorough is better. A comprehensive performance plan should include goals, objectives, timelines, and measurable metrics to track progress. This ensures that employees and managers have a clear understanding of expectations and objectives, and can work together to ensure that the goals are met.
Let’s break it down:
The foundation of every solid performance improvement plan is a thorough assessment. This part of the process entails discussing their overall performance from day one and contrasting it with the roadblock that recently arose.
By tracking the performance of the employee over time, you both get a clear view of when, where, and how performance dwindled.
Use this initial stage to communicate the problems you have identified while also encouraging the employee to openly convey their thoughts and ideas.
Steer clear from goals that seem too far-fetched and impractical. Make sure that you set your sights on goals that both parties agree are clear-cut and measurable.
Let’s say an employee constantly misses deadlines. This could be due to a wide range of factors—like burnout, low motivation, unrealistic expectations, or a lack of skill—that all need to be addressed differently.
Poor motivation could be remedied with coaching sessions or supplemented by a pivotal change in work culture or environment. Another solution could be decreasing the employee’s workload temporarily or enrolling them in skills training.
Establish a reasonable timeline for each goal. The actual number would depend on the employee’s specific job description and key performance indicators, but you should be able to agree on what is realistic and attainable.
Include milestones and checkpoints to keep the employee on track and motivated. Most performance improvement plans track results within 30, 60, or 90 days. Regular check-ins are just as important as meeting the actual end goal.
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4. Resources and Training
Provide resources and training as needed. Employees should not be expected to complete a performance improvement plan policy without support from their team leaders.
A weekly meeting will be useful in getting real-time feedback from both parties. These check-ins also ensure that the employee is on track to meet their goals.
Get them talking! Make sure that the employee also feels safe enough to ask questions or give suggestions during check-ins. Encourage an open exchange of ideas and opinions, and make sure that everyone is heard and respected.
For the performance improvement plan to help your team members succeed, transparency is key. Ensure your employee understands their next steps.
What happens after their goals are met? What will happen if they fail to meet their goals on time? None of the possible outcomes should come as a surprise to the employee.
When to Implement a Performance Improvement Plan
It is necessary in the following cases:
- During a team member’s probationary period
- If an employee usually exhibits good performance but has been showing signs of reduced performance quality recently
- If an employee seems to be struggling with a new area of work and could benefit from additional training
- If the onboarding training did not cover all the necessary bases to achieve optimal output for the job
- If the employee handbook doesn’t include a performance improvement guide
- If the employee is experiencing personal issues that could have negatively impacted their performance
Help Your Team Achieve Professional Success
Good managers invest in the personal and professional success of their teams. Help your people achieve their goals by providing the support they need. With a well-designed performance improvement plan, you’re on the road to success.