Performance Improvement Plan

Performance improvement plans — or PIPs — are intimidating for managers and employees alike. Despite this, they can be an invaluable tool for management to coach staff. Also, PIPs establish someone’s performance in a role. But, it is all about the execution. Check out these top tips to maximize their potential…  

When and Who to Issue a Performance Improvement Plan

In Grant’s article, “Tips for Giving Feedback to Employees,” he says to give feedback verbally and in writing. 

However, that feedback is not a performance improvement plan. Nor, should a PIP be issued for all feedback…

These write-ups are suitable when the following criteria are met: 

  • There is a pattern of underperformance — not a one-time occurrence. 
  • There is a possibility of improvement.
  • Or, the employee is a cultural fit for the company.

The last factor is important because it influences whether they are worth the time investment. Additionally, if they still can’t make it in their current role, a good attitude is hard to come by. At that point, you may find a good fit for them in a different role or department. 

We’ll address all that momentarily. Now, let’s go over the outline of a strong performance improvement plan… 

Framework of an Effective PIP

Unfortunately, due to some leaders’ poor execution, there is the opinion that PIPs are “delayed firing.” 

But as we just discussed, that should not be the intent of a performance improvement plan. 

As the advice above suggests, being specific is key for a PIP to be effective. But just as important, your expectations for the employee must increase their performance at a gradient. 

For example, ask a sales representative to jump from $5,000 to $100,000 per month in sales, guess what will happen?


Of course, you should expect a lot from your team. That’s why it’s best to establish these targets in your onboarding checklist

However, once you are at this point and have decided this teammate is worth the effort, going from zero to one hundred would be a mistake. Remember, these are meant to help them as well as you… 

Benefits of a Performance Improvement Plan to the Employee

The last thing to understand about these PIPs is this… 


A performance improvement plan allows the person to evaluate their commitment to the role. After all, that may be why they are underperforming. 

On the other hand, it is a clear directive on what they are and are not doing well. They cannot improve if they don’t know. 

Ultimately, a PIP is not meant for every person you manage who is falling short. Nonetheless, it can be a strong solution for unlocking potential. 

It is worth considering. 

Be Great,

GCTV Staff

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