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How To Use A PIP To Help An Employee Get Back On Track To Succeed

Regardless of how conducive and flexible the work environment is, there would be a point where a manager would have an underperforming employee. If an employee continues to perform less than required, or continually exhibits such behaviours that contradict the organization’s policies, the manager would eventually get to the point where it becomes evident that the situation needs a turnaround. Whenever an employee is under-performing or not reaching their full potential, not only the manager suffers from the setback. The whole team and company also feel the domino effect of these shortcomings; which thus, results into frustrations, wasted time, and deflated morale. 

Without blinking twice, firing such employee might be the logical course of action at this stage. But HR and Managers are often implored to consider another approach, which is to draw up a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). Performance improvement plans – also referred to as performance action plans – are used to identify employees with poor performance and give them the opportunity to succeed or remedy their shortcomings. Furthermore, PIP is used to address failures to meet specific job objectives, or to ameliorate behaviour-related issues.

Some employees are of the opinion that their reviews are not factual, which leads them to dismiss the results altogether. However, through the use of a performance improvement plan (PIP), Managers and HR can find methods to give positive encouragement to under-performing employees, while assisting them to develop their experience and skillsets in a way that aligns with their personal and organizational goals. Below are some of the ways you can use PIP to help an employee get back on track:

Listen to your employee and give them the opportunity to respond to your points

PIP is a two-way process. Employees become dissatisfied with the whole process when they feel they are misunderstood or neglected.

Pare down to the cause of any issues at work

It is important to identify the root of the problem before trying to proffer a solution. A manager should understand that an employee might be dealing with emotional problems outside the spectrum of business. Also, you as a manager should ask certain questions to help you ascertain whether the employee sees himself or herself as part of the organization’s future. Another question that needs to be answered is whether an employee is prepared for a more challenging role. Questions like these must be answered to ensure the employee understands the opportunities and changes required.

Focus on the positive

You as a manager should lay emphasizes on the positive aspects of the employee’s relationship with the company. This could either be their valuable attributes or previous outstanding performance. Furthermore, you should work with them to find ways to enhance these positives, rather than harping on their negatives.

Give them a clear path

The goal of every employee should be outlined in black and white. Employees need to understand their objectives and the actions required to meet the expectations of performance and behaviour. The clearer and more specific their objectives are, the easier they will be to attain. Obscure goals can be confusing or frustrating, and can make employees feel like they’re merely spinning their wheels.

Regularly review employee progress

Employees’ performance should be regulated at regular intervals to keep them motivated. Employees often appreciate being given the opportunity to express any concerns they may have. All meetings should be focused on progress and employees should be allowed to give their inputs and ask questions for further clarification.

What’s more? The manager should endeavour to outline clear consequences for failing to meet goals. The PIP helps the organization and employee to establish an agreement as regards how to best improve employee performance results. If the employee decides to breach the agreement halfway, there should be palpable consequences. However, these should be outlined at the beginning of the PIP process and employees should agree to the terms and conditions before proceeding.

If you would like to keep track of appraisals and monitor the impact of your Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) via an automated system, then our automated HR business solution – OutsourceHR – is your best option. OutsourceHR has an appraisal module that helps to evaluate staff KPIs and keeps track of staff journey within your organization.

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