MMC HR Tips for Delivering a successful Performance Improvement Plan

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One of the most common areas that the MMC Human Resources team helps employers with is how to properly address the need for improved performance by an employee.  Many times, our HR team is called to assist our frustrated clients who may be seeking guidance to properly document issues and formulate a plan for improvement amongst their staff.  Our team of experts is able to help address this head on by following our suggested Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) guidelines:

  • Manager or employer should have already made the expectations clear to the employee. A PIP is not the time to educate the employee on their job, rather, the time to facilitate constructive discussion between a staff member and their supervisor and to clarify the exact work performance requiring improvement and steps required to improve.
  • Manager should be able to clearly identify the areas needed for improvement and be detailed in documenting them on our recommended PIP form. A strong PIP will include specific details such as dates, times, exact details of issues.  A broad statement such as “employee has attitude” does not help create a solid PIP.  In this scenario, the statement should include details of poor communication, specific incidents and real examples.
  • Manager should be able to outline the level of work performance that is expected and how it differs from what is currently being delivered.  Following MMC’s recommended PIP form template will ensure you address all of these areas in the PIP. Manager should be able to identify any resources available to support the employee’s improvement.  This may include the employee handbook or a relevant online training course.  MMC HR team can help identify any relevant online courses we may be able to assign to the employee. Providing additional training or resources as part of a PIP is highly recommended as it demonstrates the employer’s willingness to work with the employee to make real improvement.
  • Set a meeting time with the employee to review the PIP and solicit feedback from them on any ideas they may want to add to the plan. 
  • Communicate a clear plan for following up on the employee’s progress.  Have specific measurable goals you will consider in evaluating improvement.  Set a specific date you will formally meet again to review progress (i.e. in 30 days).  Be realistic about the timeframe given for improvement.  An employee should not be given less than a few weeks to demonstrate their ability to improve on a PIP, or they could argue that they were not given adequate time to make positive improvement.
  • Be clear about the possible consequences if the performance standards are not met.   This should include further disciplinary action, up to and including, termination.  

The ideal PIP will be presented in such a way that the employee will feel that their employer will support them if they require improvement by holding them accountable in a logical and methodical way.   This can contribute to overall better company culture and improved communication for all.   

Please see attached recommended PIP form template and reach out to your MMC HR team if you would like any assistance with preparing or presenting this document to an employee.    

Authored by MMC HR Operations Manager, Adriana Rubio Keane