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Creating a Performance Improvement Plan: Role for HR, Supervisors
HR often works in consultation with a supervisor to draw up a performance improvement plan in performance improvement plan (PIP) for an underperforming employee. But where should the supervisor’s responsibilities for the PIP end, and the HR department’s responsibilities begin? Or is writing a PIP a collaborative process from start to finish?
Ongoing Conversations About Performance
This scenario may be all too familiar to HR managers: A supervisor says she needs help drawing up a PIP for an underperforming employee. She’s on the verge of firing the worker but wants to give him one more chance.
The HR manager asks: “Have you made your expectations clear and documented them? Have you made it clear to the employee that his performance isn’t measuring up to expectations?” But it turns out that conversations between the supervisor and employee have been informal, and the documentation minimal.
“It puts HR leaders in a tough spot,” said Bruce Tulgan, CEO of Rainmaker Thinking, a management research, training and consulting firm in New Haven, Conn.
Added Ken Alexander, president of Garland, Texas-based Partners for People Management, who acts as an HR specialist for small and midsize companies: “Hopefully, [the supervisor is] giving feedback to the employee on a regular basis.” But 80 to 90 percent of managers are not doing that, he said.
“You want times, amounts and numbers,” said Alexander. For instance, if an employee is often late to work, the supervisor should talk to her, remind her that tardiness is not acceptable and mention the arrival time on the days she was late. Written documentation of the late arrivals and of the conversation with the employee is crucial, he said.
When consulting with supervisors on a PIP, HR should always look at the employee’s performance appraisal, said Alexander. “Sometimes managers aren’t honest with the performance appraisal,” he said. “They will give somebody a ‘satisfactory’ rating when [the employee has] problems.”
Is a PIP the First Step in Firing an Employee?
Use a PIP to Help an Employee Get Back on Track to Succeed
Are you interested in performance improvement plans (PIPs)? PIPs are a popular topic with readers because so many organizations do them wrong and use them for all of the wrong reasons. So employees are often confused about what being placed on a PIP actually means for their current and future employment.