Performance Management and Performance Improvement Plans-What You Need to Know


Is being placed on a PIP (performance improvement plan) really the long goodbye?

The beginning of the end?

Have you been put on a PIP?

Are you an employer who needs to put someone on a PIP?

Performance management should be about helping employees to reach their potential and contribute to the overall goals and success of the employer.

Working towards a common goal in a cohesive, planned way with people being clear about what is expected of them is critical to success in any sphere including in the fields of business, education, sport, and personal development.

Any review of performance should be

  • Objective
  • Fair
  • Transparent
  • Relate to real work.

Good management involves employee performance being monitored throughout the year with coaching in relation to problem areas and positive acknowledgement being provided regularly.

If this occurs formal performance reviews should not contain any major surprises for employer or employee.

Performance reviews should

  • Acknowledge the work of the employee
  • Allow good, open communication
  • Provide feedback to the employee
  • Motivate the employee
  • Provide information for decisions about promotion, salary increases, bonuses, training
  • Look at areas in need of improvement in the employee’s work
  • Help employees reach their potential.

To prepare for the review the employer should

  1. Schedule the meeting well in advance
  2. Prepare well and review the employee’s goals
  3. Ensure sufficient time and a location for an open, unhurried chat.

To maximize the benefits of performance reviews the employer should

  • Provide specific, constructive feedback about any problem areas
  • Offer support and training for any problem areas
  • Be open minded and objective
  • Look at the areas of primary responsibility of the employee and how has performance been
  • Review the goals set for the period of performance
  • Look at professional development, where appropriate
  • Look at goals for the next performance period
  • Summarize the review and write down the goals for the upcoming period (this should be signed by both employer and employee).

After the performance review the employee should be asked for their feedback including

  • Did they feel motivated after the review?
  • Was there an opportunity to contribute to the objectives?
  • Was feedback fair and objective?
  • Was there the opportunity to discuss problems?
  • Were achievements recognised?
  • Had the employee have any suggestions to improve the review process?

A Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”)

Where an employee’s performance falls below the standard because of a lack of ability, skill or knowledge a PIP allows the setting up of a clear procedure to encourage and help improvement.  Failure to perform to standard on other grounds may well be subject to a disciplinary procedure.

A PIP will also help to ensure that all employees are treated fairly and consistently.

The responsibility for the performance management process should probably fall to the line manager in the first instance, but will depend on the size of the organisation and how many layers of management etcetera.

He/she needs to

  1. Let the employee know that their performance is not up to the required standard.
  2. Agree a PIP with ongoing review dates
  3. Give the employee a reasonable period of time to improve and undertake any training deemed necessary
  4. Offer the employee closer supervision by a manager or supervisor.

At the end of this period another meeting will be arranged to review progress.

If the progress is not sufficient then a decision would be taken to take disciplinary action or extend the PIP before using the disciplinary process.