HR Advice

Just Received a Performance Improvement Plan? What to do Next

Jeffrey Fermin
Jeffrey Fermin
March 13, 2023
•
8 Min Read
Just Received a Performance Improvement Plan? What to do Next

If you've just received a performance improvement plan (PIP), it can be a challenging and stressful time. A PIP is a formal document that outlines areas where your performance is falling short and sets out specific actions you need to take to improve.

While receiving a PIP can be difficult, it's important to remember that it's not necessarily the end of the road. In fact, a PIP can be an opportunity for you to develop new skills, demonstrate your value to the company, and turn things around. In this blog post, we'll explore what you can do if you've received a PIP, how to approach the process, and how to use it as a springboard for growth and success in your career.

Understanding what a PIP is

If you're an employee who has just received a PIP, it's understandable to feel concerned or anxious about what it means. A PIP is a formal document that outlines areas of your performance that are falling short and sets out specific actions you need to take to improve. It's essentially a roadmap for how you can address any issues and get back on track.

While receiving a PIP can be difficult, it's important to remember that it's not necessarily a reflection of your worth as an employee. PIPs are often used as a way for employers to help employees who are struggling to meet expectations, rather than a punitive measure. They provide a clear and structured path for you to follow to improve your performance.

It's important to take the PIP seriously and approach it with a positive attitude. This doesn't mean you have to be thrilled about it, but it does mean that you should see it as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Take some time to read through the document carefully, understand the areas of improvement that are being identified, and ask any questions you may have.

Remember, your employer wants you to succeed and improve, and the PIP is designed to help you do just that. By taking the necessary steps to address the areas of improvement, you can demonstrate your commitment to the company and your willingness to grow and develop as an employee.

Why companies use performance improvement plans

Companies use PIPs for a variety of reasons, but the primary goal is to improve employee performance and productivity. Here are some of the key reasons why companies use PIPs:

  • Provide clear expectations: A PIP provides a clear outline of expectations for the employee, including specific goals and timelines for improvement.
  • Identify areas for improvement: By identifying specific areas where an employee's performance is falling short, a PIP can help the employee focus on the most important areas for improvement.
  • Offer guidance and support: A PIP can provide guidance and support to help the employee improve their performance, such as training opportunities or coaching.
  • Document performance issues: By documenting the areas of improvement and the steps taken to address them, the company can establish a clear record of performance issues that may be used in future performance evaluations or disciplinary actions.
  • Protect the company: In some cases, a PIP may be used to protect the company from potential legal action if an employee is terminated for poor performance.

Ultimately, a PIP is a tool that companies use to help employees improve their performance and become more productive members of the team. By identifying areas of improvement, providing support and guidance, and establishing clear expectations, companies can help employees succeed and contribute to the success of the company.

Is your job in jeopardy if you have a PIP?

If you're on a PIP, you may be wondering if this means that your job is in jeopardy and you should start looking for a new one. While a PIP can be a serious matter, it doesn't necessarily mean that you should start packing up your things just yet.

A PIP is designed to help employees improve their performance and address any areas where they may be falling short. While the process can be challenging, it's important to approach it with a positive and proactive attitude. By taking the necessary steps to address the areas of improvement outlined in the PIP, you may be able to turn things around and demonstrate your value to the company.

It's also important to remember that a PIP is not necessarily a precursor to termination. In fact, many employees who go through the PIP process are able to successfully improve their performance and continue working for the company. However, if you don't take the necessary steps to address the areas of improvement outlined in the PIP, or if your performance does not improve despite your best efforts, then it's possible that termination may be the end result.

Ultimately, it's important to take a realistic approach to the situation. While a PIP can be challenging, it's not necessarily the end of the road. By approaching the process with a positive attitude, seeking out support and resources, and taking the necessary steps to improve your performance, you may be able to turn things around and continue to thrive in your role.

What to do if you've received a PIP

Receiving a PIP can be a daunting experience, but it's important to approach it with a positive and proactive attitude. Here are some steps you can take to make the most of the PIP process:

  • Read the PIP document thoroughly: Make sure you understand all the areas of improvement that are being identified, the specific actions you need to take, and the timeframe for improvement.
  • Clarify any questions or concerns: If there are any aspects of the PIP that you don't understand or have concerns about, it's important to raise them with your supervisor or HR representative.
  • Develop an action plan: Take the specific actions outlined in the PIP document and create an action plan to address them. This may involve setting specific goals, creating a timeline, and identifying any resources or support you may need.
  • Communicate regularly: Keep your supervisor or HR representative informed of your progress and any challenges you may be facing. Regular communication can help demonstrate your commitment to improvement and help you stay on track.
  • Seek out resources and support: If there are any areas where you need additional training or support, don't hesitate to ask for it. Your employer may have resources available, such as training programs or coaching, to help you address the areas of improvement.
  • Stay positive and focused: Remember that the PIP is an opportunity to improve your performance and demonstrate your value to the company. Stay positive, focused, and committed to the process, and you may find that you come out of the experience stronger and more successful than before.

Ensuring success after you've received a PIP

Success after receiving a PIP can be defined as improving your performance in the areas of concern and meeting the expectations set out by your employer. This might involve developing new skills, refining existing ones, or adopting new approaches to your work.

One of the main indicators of success is meeting or exceeding performance expectations. This means that you are able to deliver the level of quality and quantity of work that is expected of you, within the agreed-upon timeframe. Success can also be measured in terms of meeting specific goals that were outlined in your PIP. For example, if your PIP focused on improving your ability to work collaboratively with others, success might be demonstrated by more effective communication, increased engagement with colleagues, and a more positive working relationship with team members.

Another important factor in achieving success after a PIP is taking ownership of your development. This means being proactive in seeking out opportunities to improve your skills and knowledge, such as attending training sessions, seeking out feedback and coaching, and taking the initiative to learn from others. By demonstrating a commitment to your own growth and development, you can not only improve your performance in the short term, but also position yourself for success in the long term.

You've successfully completed your plan, now what?

Completing a PIP can be a challenging process, but it's also an opportunity for growth and development. Now that you've successfully completed your plan, it's important to take some time to reflect on what you've learned and how you can continue to improve.

One of the most important things you can do after completing your PIP is to continue to demonstrate your improved performance. This means making a conscious effort to apply the new skills, strategies, and approaches that you developed during the plan, and ensuring that you are meeting or exceeding the expectations set out by your employer. This can help to build trust and confidence with your colleagues and management, and position you for future opportunities within the organization.

Another key factor in ensuring your continued success is seeking feedback on your performance. Don't be afraid to ask your supervisor or HR representative for feedback on how you're doing, and what you can do to continue to improve. This can help you to identify areas where you may still have room for growth, and provide you with valuable insights that can help you to achieve your goals.

Finally, it's important to continue to take ownership of your development. This means seeking out opportunities to further improve your skills and knowledge, such as attending training sessions, seeking out mentors or coaches, or taking on new challenges and responsibilities within your role. By continuing to grow and develop, you can position yourself as a valuable asset to your organization, and ensure that you are well-equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

What if the PIP didn't work out?

If the PIP didn't work out and you're still struggling with performance issues, it's important to take a step back and reassess the situation. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Identify the root cause: Try to identify the root cause of the performance issues you're experiencing. Is it a lack of training or resources? Do you need additional support or guidance from your supervisor? Are there personal or external factors impacting your work? Once you have identified the root cause, you can develop a plan to address it.
  • Have an honest conversation with your supervisor: It's important to have an open and honest conversation with your supervisor about your performance issues. Be transparent about the challenges you're facing, and ask for their support in developing a plan to address them. Your supervisor may have additional resources or insights that can help you to improve your performance.
  • Take action: Develop a plan to address the performance issues you're experiencing, and take action to implement it. This may involve seeking additional training or support, setting clear goals and timelines for improvement, or making changes to your work habits or approach.
  • Keep a positive attitude: It's important to maintain a positive attitude and stay motivated, even if you're struggling with performance issues. Remember that everyone faces challenges and setbacks at times, and that with the right mindset and approach, you can overcome them.
  • Consider your options: If you've tried everything you can and are still struggling with performance issues, it may be time to consider other options. This could include transferring to a different department or role within the organization, seeking employment elsewhere, or pursuing additional education or training to improve your skills and knowledge.

Whatever you decide, it's important to take a proactive approach to your career development and keep working towards your goals.

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