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What do you do if one of your employees isn’t performing to the expected level? Should you fire them or give them a second chance?
The best practice among businesses is to put the under performing employee on a performance improvement plan or PIP for short.
The performance improvement plan is reserved for the employee who is genuinely a good worker but has not been meeting expected work results.
If you have an employee who is causing problems, or has been caught in misconduct the performance improvement plan is probably not your best way to go.
However, if you find yourself in need of bringing up the performance level of an employee here is the process to follow.
Put the problem down in writing so it is clear and the employee can understand what the issue is. Define the exact problem. Is the employee not meeting quota standards? Is there a conduct issue such as chronic tardiness and missing work? Or is there a specific skill the employee is lacking to perform his or her job properly.
What is the desired result of the performance improvement plan? Clearly set expected results. Don’t leave anything out. This will eliminate any confusion or misunderstanding later on.
How long should the improvements be made in? Does the employee have until the end of the month to get his certification, or do you have a six month plan to get her back up to expected standards?
Just telling the employee they have until the end of the month to improve is not a good way to ensure you see the results you are looking for. It is too vague and presumably if they knew what they were doing wrong in the first place they would have already improved.
If it’s sales then how many units should they be selling? If you have an in house metric system such as in customer support, what are the realistic numbers they need to get to?
Make sure you go over the plan with the said employee. There should be no surprises at the end of the evaluation period. Once they have gone over what you expect and had an opportunity to ask questions, have them sign it. This will make things much easier if the employee does not improve and you are forced to terminate their employment.
Hopefully you will never have to deal with a situation where one of your employees is underperforming, or not meeting the expected results in some way. Hopefully you have a rockstar team that not only works well together, but likes working with each other. However if that is ever not the case it is best to be prepared ahead of time. Don’t wait until you have an underperforming employee to create a procedure to handle it.
Your best bet is to be prepared for the worst and build a company culture that produces the best.
Still confused what a plan looks like? Here’s an example of a performance improvement plan we wrote for you, obviously put in your own employee’s details.