Performance improvement plans are important tools that companies can use to help develop their employees and improve the overall function of their business. If a company or organization has given you a performance improvement plan, it can be helpful to know how to approach it. In this article, we discuss what a performance improvement plan is, why they’re important and how to respond to one. Regardless of the underlying reasons, seeing your manager slide a performance plan across the table can feel defeating. So, how do you respond to a performance improvement plan? You have two choices. Decide this isn’t the right company or role for you and walk away, or fight like hell to beat it. Here are a few tips on how to move forward.
What is a Performance Improvement Plan?
A performance improvement plan includes expectations for your role, areas in which you’re falling short of those expectations, and steps for improving performance. If you don’t meet plan expectations during the evaluation period, you will be subject to disciplinary action and possible termination.
A performance improvement plan (PIP) is a detailed description of the expectations your employer and manager have for you in your current role, as well as areas in which you’re not meeting those expectations. It should include concrete steps for you to take to improve performance, and it should outline a clear timeline for completion usually within 30-, 60-, or 90-days of administration.
Why are performance improvement plans important?
It’s important for a company to create a performance improvement plan because it can clearly define the areas where an employee can improve their work and give a list of steps that they can take to fulfill those needs and develop in the company. This can help an employee understand exactly what they need to do to better themselves and grow more easily.
Performance improvement plans can also be important for companies and organizations to develop their employees without hiring and training someone who’s brand new. By attempting to advance an individual who is already employed, the company can save time, money and resources.
How to respond to a performance improvement plan
Here are eight steps you can take to respond to a performance improvement plan and fulfill its requirements:
1. Have a positive attitude
Working on your performance improvement plan with a positive attitude can help you reach your goals more easily and create good working habits. If you start your PIP with the mindset of improving your skills and attitude toward your daily responsibilities, it can show your employer you’re taking their suggestions seriously and approaching them with determination.
2. Take responsibility
If your manager or boss approaches you with a performance improvement plan, consider listening intently to their coaching and suggestions and take responsibility for any imperfections in your work that might have led to this situation. This can help show the employer that you’re serious about developing as an employee and that you have a desire to continue working with the company.
3. Request extra time
Sometimes an employer will give your PIP a deadline. If it’s possible, consider requesting additional time to meet the goals and objectives that your manager or boss has put into place. Requesting an extended deadline can help you fulfill your performance improvement plan by giving you more time to make improvements.
4. Ask for help
Asking for help from your manager can give you insight into how to fulfill your job responsibilities and show them your willingness to improve your skills. It can help to make your questions specific and use them to further inquire how to meet or exceed your manager’s expectations.
5. Double your effort
Doubling your working effort can help show your manager that you are taking the necessary steps to fulfill the goals of the PIP. This can include producing more deliverables for your manager, putting in extra hours at your office or business location and showing up for work on time and ready to go.
6. Check in regularly
Checking with your manager or boss regularly about your PIP progress can help show your employer your dedication to improving and can help you know if the steps you’re taking to fulfill your performance improvement plan goals are working. Consider talking with your manager consistently, either weekly or bi-weekly, to figure out if you’re meeting their expectations or if you need to change your method of approaching the PIP objectives.
7. Set your own goals
Aside from the objectives of your performance improvement plan, it can be helpful to set your own goals that you can work to achieve as well. These goals can be personal to you and your desired development, or they might add another challenge or level to the PIP’s goals. By attempting to complete a goal or objective that is more difficult than the one your manager or boss assigned, you might be able to reach your employer’s goal more easily.