PIPs - What, Why, Who, When & How

Performance Improvement Plan (or PIP) is a process used by managers to help underperforming employees to improve their performance.

It is a formal document with consequences for the employee put under PIP including termination.

The objective of PIP is to improve performance and it cannot be used by managers as a tool to terminate employment or take disciplinary action.

A PIP is invoked when there is a consistent slippage on the OKRs by an employee.

Typically, PIP is used as an intermediary step before replacing the employee as such replacement is a time consuming and costly process.

A PIP process is an intense process run typically for 30 to 120 days and requires frequent monitoring through 1:1s, Check-ins and Feedback. It also requires manager to clearly specify goals, how to achieve them and the resources required.

Some areas where PIPs are typically used are a) sales quota not achieved over several months or quarters b) absenteeism c) poor team collaboration d) time management and productivity.

A PIP should clearly document:

  1. areas of concerns
  2. consequences for the employee
  3. duration
  4. goals and expectations during the PIP time period
  5. specific tasks or steps on how to achieve the goals
  6. resources provided to achieve the goals
  7. previous developmental feedback and training provided for improvement
  8. follow-up (1:1 and Check-in) cadence
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