Wednesday, 28 October 2020 12:00

What If You Never Had To Write Another Performance Improvement Plan?

It's no secret that Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) don't work. As a business, you’ve likely implemented PIPs when an employee’s behavior didn't meet your expectations. For instance, take an employee who has been consistently late to work. You've talked to them about their late arrivals multiple times. You've told them in no uncertain terms how their job impacts the work of others and how they need to be there on time in order to effectively meet the needs of the customer. You’ve left those meetings believing that they understood, but then they show up late once again.

So you started the disciplinary write-up process and took the time to get the written warning done and meet with the employee one-on-one. Unfortunately, the disciplinary warning doesn’t work and all it only makes your employee angrier. The lateness and disciplinary cycle inevitably repeats until you implement a Performance Improvement Plan as a last-ditch effort to turn their behavior around. But how often does that PIP achieve the results you want?

Why A Performance Improvement Plan Doesn’t Work

A Performance Improvement Plan is typically a written document that summarizes the employee’s past patterns and behaviors, references prior written warnings, outlines clear expectations and timelines going forward, and lets the employee know that if the behavior continues further disciplinary action, up to and including termination, will result.

After the document is created, most employers will hold a meeting with the employee to inform them they’re being placed on a PIP. At that point, the wheels come off the wagon. The employee no longer hears or cares what you say. Because of that plan, the employee has decided it is time to update their resume and get out of there. But, they don’t tell you their thoughts, they just act mad or sad or embarrassed. The employee is just creating a facade in the meeting, because as soon as they leave that meeting they’ll begin looking at job boards for their next job.

As outlined in the PIP, you’ll meet with the employee on a regular basis to check in on what they are doing and how they’re working. You’ll likely do your best to hold them accountable, which means you’ll discuss their work, coach/correct them as necessary, and then document the meeting. And after several meetings, and hours of documentation and work, the employee will either leave on their own or you’ll have to fire them anyway because there has not been any sustained improvement in their performance. This performance management cycle is all-too-familiar to business owners and managers everywhere, as it can clearly be a drain on your time and company resources.

The Bottom Line

Performance Improvement Plans simply don’t work. PIPs take up tons of time and energy for meetings and documentation to help the employee improve their performance. And at the end of the day, all that time and energy is wasted because the employee will typically leave the company anyway.

But, what if you didn’t have to write another PIP for the rest of your career? What if you gave every employee something that outlined expectations so clearly that it was the only document you needed for your job description and your performance evaluation? What if that one document was something you provided at the beginning of the employee’s career with your company so the employee could refer to it whenever they needed it? You and your employee could discuss the document in your one-on-one meetings to ensure it was up-to-date with all the latest information about the job.

If your employee had that kind of supportive document, chances are you wouldn’t need to write a PIP ever again! And that’s where CourtSide® Consulting comes into play.

At CourtSide®, I have personally developed a Performance Roadmap Template that is designed to enable you to outline your expectations and action steps for success in the position, plus any other vital information about the role in the organization. With this roadmap template, your employee will feel empowered to get the job done right and have the supportive resources to do it right every single day.

If you would like to learn more about this Performance Roadmap Template, please contact CourtSide® Consulting today or give us a call at 720-328-8870.