Performance improvement is dedicated to accelerating skill development and advancing overall employee productivity. This is done by understanding organisational goals, creating, and implementing procedures for change, including training programs, and evaluating successes and any challenges.
It may be that it is one individual who is not performing as they should, a group of employees or the organisation as a whole. The first thing is to is determine what should be happening and how they should be performing. Once you know how things should be running you can then identify where there are gaps or room for improvement. You then need to see what is actually causing the performance to dip. This could be several things and the best practise is always to identify case by case. It could be an underlying issue that can easily be resolved.
Factors that affect performance
Certain factors need to be in place for workers to be able to perform well in their jobs. If these factors are not in place, it could mean that employees will not perform to their best ability. These factors are:
- Clear job expectations.
- Clear and immediate performance feedback.
- Adequate physical environment, including proper tools, supplies and workspace.
- Motivation and incentives to perform as expected.
- Skills and knowledge required for the job.
It could also be a personal issue such as financial worries or issues within the home. It is important to address these with empathy and understanding. Work with your employees to identify and resolve. Communication is key!
Performance Improvement Plans
It is not an easy conversation to have with employees who are underperforming but it is a conversation that needs to happen not only to benefit you and your business but also the employee themselves. It may not be the fact that the employee is not working hard enough but that they have not been trained effectively or the business is not meeting the factors needed for successful performance.
A Performance Improvement Plan (or PIP), is typically a formal document that outlines any existing performance issues and outlines goals and objectives to tackle the productivity issues.
Performance improvement plans can be effective if the following are incorporated:
- Open up a dialogue with the employee first and maintain a positive relationship.
- Find the root causes of the issues.
- Set achievable SMART goals that the employee feels they are capable of working towards.
- Provide guidance and positive reinforcement to ensure the employee feels supported not undermined.
- Provide the necessary resources, training and time that is needed for the objectives to be met. It is good practise to discuss this with the employee.
- Check in regularly. Having clear communication with the employee will more likely result in successful completion of the PIP.
- Review your PIP appropriately. If the employee is struggling or is in need of extra help to achieve the objectives, then the employer should try and make adjustments for them. Discussing failings and success not only benefits the employee but also the employer for any future PIPs.
- Reward success. It is important that the employer acknowledges and rewards the employee’s efforts if completed successfully.
What should an employee performance improvement plan include?
- A great plan always acknowledges the starting point and where to go. What areas need improvement? What’s the cause of the existing problems?
- What is the expected standard? Meeting this goal at the end of the improvement can seem like a daunting task. So, set up smaller goals in between. These will also give more structure to the milestones you will set your employee.
- The steps you will want your employee to take, with a timeline that includes check-ins with the assigned manager.
- What resources and support will be provided by the company.
We can provide you with an effective performance improvement plan. We can provide forms used within the PIP. Finally, we can help ease communication with employees regarding the completion of their PIP.
Quick fire questions
- How long should employees be on a PIP? – That is down to the employer and every case is unique so there is no defining answer to this one! The timescale depends on the complexity of the issue. For example, the more complex and more steps a PIP has, the more time it will take to complete.
- Are my employers trying to get rid of me? – Absolutely not! A PIP is designed to help employees. It’s designed to get the best out of you. A PIP should be seen as a positive, aiding the employee to be as successful as possible.
- Can a PIP be extended? – Yes, but it is advisable not to extend indefinitely.
- What happens if an employee is not successful on the PIP? – Look at extending the PIP initially, look at how the business has acted within the PIP – have they provided the appropriate resources or provided enough support? If the business has completed their part properly then it could result in dismissal of the employee.
Wurkplace is here to help! We provide bespoke HR and Health & Safety solutions to businesses all around the UK. We provide a great number of training courses for staff development, including in employee relations, communication, anti-harassment, teamworking, and effective delegation.
Contact us by calling 0330 400 5490 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
With over 20 years HR generalist experience across all disciplines, Sarah has worked across a number of business sectors and understands the importance of robust and practical HR processes and trained, motivated and engaged people in delivering business success.
As Wurkplace’s Head of HR, she is passionate about both providing the best HR service to our Clients as well as recruiting, developing and retaining the best team.