What is PIP program?
Performance improvement plan (PIP), also known as performance action plan, is an official memorandum to employees who is at FME (fail to meet expectation) level. PIP is often employed by managers to give underperforming employees the opportunity to succeed in their job. In other words, PIP can be an effective way to address employees’ failure who are unable to meet specific job goals or to ameliorate behaviour-related concerns.
See also: 9 Kinds of Employee You Should Fire Fast
There is no requirement for formal training to be provided during a PIP. Yet, managers should provide all of the assistance that was promised to the underperforming employees at the beginning of the PIP. As an alternative to traditional classroom training, on-the-job training is a more common form of training provided during an opportunity period. Managers might also need to provide self-instructional manuals, videos, or agency-funded training programs as assistance for employees during a PIP.
What should HR include in the PIP program?
Albeit there is no requirement for formal training, adapted from SHRM, a PIP document must include the following aspects.
- PIP must identify the duration of the opportunity period. At maximum, the opportunity period is no less than 90 days for each critical employees who are on FME level.
- PIP should state critical elements of the FME level and describe specific actions needed to improve and managers should be the assistance to make the actions possible.
- PIP must include standard or requirements to meet the expected level and consequences when employees fail to achieve the expectation.
- PIP includes a statement that if an employee’s performance improves but lapses again to FME level within a year, reduction in grade or termination without additional PIP cannot be denied.
Possible reactions of employees
When handling the PIP document, not every underperforming employee will welcome the plan openly. Why? The common reason is that employees often considered PIP as a means of termination. Liz Ryan cited that when managers truly care about employees and want to help improve employee’s performance, they would sit and talk like a friend or coach instead of handing a document of PIP to employees.
In order to not upset employees and avoid unwelcoming behaviour, executing PIP wisely and correctly is pivotal. To do that, managers or HR who gives notice to employees can consider the following advice.
- Talk privately to make employees comfortable in discussing their problem that could be the reason behind their hampering performance.
- Never make a PIP a surprise. Advise employees that PIP is possible during a performance evaluation, such that employees would be prepared for the program.
- Discuss with employees about the performance plan including actions that should be taken by manager and employees. In addition, discuss the required assignments for employees during the PIP.
- Develop a plan during the meeting for how to reach success. For example, daily or weekly checkpoints and goals the underperforming employee should achieve. In this discussion, managers should provide a suggestion for what should be done differently by employees in order to attain success. Focus on the positive and solution.
- Announcement – In the last stage of PIP, HR manager can announce to the underperforming employee about his/her improvement and whether the said employee succeeds or needs to leave the organisation.
- When PIP is a success, the employee can go back to work normally.
- When PIP is failed, HR needs to lawfully terminate the underperforming employee by providing employee’s needs and rights such as severance pay.
Read also: How to Fire Long-Time Employees