When an employee isn’t able to carry out their responsibilities at work, it’s tough. We want everyone to do well, but issues don’t go away on their own. A good performance improvement plan (PIP) will help an employee who’s struggling turn things around and put them on the path to long-term success. That’s where this template comes in. It gives managers a framework to define expectations, deficits, and objectives clearly, so employees feel supported as they work through issues.
How to use the performance improvement plan template
Step 1. Fill in the details of the letter
Being put on a performance improvement plan can be scary. Though termination isn’t the goal of a PIP, it is a possible result. You want the letter you write to convey the gravity of the situation, but you don’t want to leave employees feeling hopeless. In addition to explaining the timeline and potential outcome, your letter should convey that a performance improvement plan is an opportunity.
Before you get into specific performance issues and objectives in the next section, take time to review the sample letter. Start by filling in the employee and employer’s names, the date and length of the PIP, and your name and contact info. Then make adjustments as needed to tailor the letter to your specific situation.
Step 2. Describe performance issues and create an action plan
Once you’re done with the letter, it’s time to create an action plan. Start by listing out the performance issues the employee needs to address. For each one, write down the expectation they aren’t meeting (this should come from the employee’s job profile), describe how they’re missing the mark, and offer a few concrete examples to illustrate the problem. Then, come up with an objective related to each issue that is specific, actionable, and achievable in the time available.
The best PIPs offer employees guidance on how to achieve each objective, whether it’s working with a mentor, taking a training course, or blocking off time to focus on a particular task. You can include this information with the objective.
Step 3. Review the plan with your employee
Sit down with your employee and go through the performance improvement plan with them. Walk them through performance issues and objectives, give them time to process the situation and ask questions, and ask them what kind of support they think they’ll need to achieve the objectives outlined in the plan (for example, mentorship from another member of your team or skills training). Taking the time to talk face-to-face shows that you’re invested in your employee’s success, and seeking their input will help them feel empowered.
Both you and your employee need to sign the performance improvement plan. Let your employee know that signing the PIP doesn’t mean they agree with your perception of the problem: it just means they’re acknowledging it.
Atlassian is an enterprise software company that develops products for software developers, project managers, and content management.
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