Performance Improvement Plan: Template, Examples & Benefits

A performance improvement plan can be used by management to give a worker one more chance to improve after a bad performance review PIP, sometimes called a performance action plan.

A performance improvement plan gives the employee specific goals to prevent termination, promotion, or transfer.

A PIP can be tailored to address any issue. It can also be any length; it all depends on how many objectives an employee must complete to perform to the required level.

What is a performance improvement plan (PIP)?

A formal document known as a performance improvement plan (PIP) outlines the adjustments a person must make to keep their employment.

PIPs often include a list of performance objectives that staff members must complete within a predetermined period.

Employees can improve their performance with a performance action plan (PAP), often referred to as a performance improvement plan.

When a job goal is not met, it can be utilized to address behavior issues.

What Is PIP In HR?

PIP stands for Performance Improvement Plan. In the context of human resources (HR), a Performance Improvement Plan is a formal document that outlines specific goals and expectations for an employee’s job performance and steps and support to help the employee improve.

The purpose of a PIP is to provide constructive feedback to an employee who is underperforming and give them a clear plan for improvement. The goal is to help the employee succeed in their role and meet the company’s expectations.

A PIP is typically a last resort before considering termination and is seen as a way to support and guide employees to help them reach their full potential in their job.

Benefits Of Performance Improvement Plan

When they have the option to fire the employee, why do companies utilize performance improvement programs to address problems that cause poor performance? The use of PIPs has several advantages.

Improved corporate culture

PIP use encourages a sense of responsibility. Employees are aware that failure to achieve standards will result in disciplinary action.

  • This supports a productive workplace culture. Employees who put in much effort feel valued since they know everyone has a responsibility.

  • Employees who are having a hard time know that their bosses will help them if they fall behind by giving them attainable goals.

  • Everyone is more aware of their responsibilities.
  • Remember that you can use performance development plans that aren’t merely troublesome for employees.

Employees who desire to move laterally or up in the organization (but are unsure how to do so) or who would be a better fit for a different position should also develop a performance improvement plan.

In other words, PIPs give employees a sense of importance in the workplace since they know their employer will help them advance their careers.

Performance action plans also allow businesses to improve their workforce by hiring more motivated workers.

Reduce costs and time.

Because it saves time and money, every employer wants to keep employee turnover to a minimum.

The costs involved with terminating workers and recruiting candidates to replace vacancies are eliminated when present employees are assisted in improving their performance.
Additionally, it eliminates the requirement for recruitment training and interviews.

While exercise may be necessary for the person earning a PIP, it will still be less training than what a new employee would need.

Greater impact than reviews

Reviews seldom ever have an impact. Some people take criticism harshly, even when it is constructive.

Even worse, the majority of people think the input is unreliable. Due to these factors, employees frequently disregard reviews and continue with their current behavior.

PIPs, on the other hand, give employees a clear understanding of where they are falling short and what they can do to improve.

Performance improvement programs might inspire staff to work harder if designed with the proper “why” in mind.

Examples of performance improvement plans

Your first meeting with the employee should result in his manager creating a draught performance improvement plan, which they should then present to HR for review.

You can use the following performance plan samples to create your PIPs.

Case Study for Boosting Customer Service

Customer service is the subject of our first example performance improvement strategy.

If customers complain about the demeanor of a particular employee or the level of service they receive, this kind of performance improvement plan may be required.
Improving client interactions may be the primary objective of such a PIP.

Objectives: Improving customer engagement or retention are two objectives to achieve this goal.

The employee could either attend a customer service training class or work more closely with customers to fix issues to accomplish the abovementioned goals.

KPIs: The customer turnover rate or customer satisfaction rating is the most acceptable metric.

Illustration of how to raise the caliber of work

In other circumstances, a worker can have little to no touch with clients yet produce subpar work in different ways.

Improve the caliber of the work.

Goals: Complete projects by the deadline or without faults

Action: The first goal is straightforward: The employees must not miss any deadlines within the timeframe specified in the PIP.

Cooperation with a senior team member is necessary to check for errors and determine whether the quality is appropriate for the second target.

Metrics: The quantity and caliber of late submissions (the latter may be subjective).

Productivity example

The person in a middle management position would benefit the most from the following scenario.

Consider a scenario in which the employee is in charge of expanding a program by boosting the number of subscribers. There hasn’t been any change after a while.

Goals: To increase the number of customers who are program subscribers and minimize the number of program cancellations.

Improve campaigns, improve the program’s advertising benefits, and implement a retention strategy.

Subscriptions and unsubscribes are the metrics.

Example 4 of unethical conduct

Our final example of a performance improvement plan addresses unprofessional conduct.

This kind of PIP may be required in several circumstances, including maltreatment of coworkers or subordinates, frequent tardiness, and unlawful absences.

Goal: Completely stop the activity.

Goals: Be on time, respect others, or attend all required meetings.

Only take time off from work for personal or medical reasons with permission. Get instruction on proper workplace behavior.


Some actions can be quickly assessed (e.g., did the employee arrive on time?
Other circumstances are more individualized.

You may need to speak with subordinates who find it challenging to collaborate with the individual.

What Should Be Included In A Performance Improvement Plan?

The optimum time to deploy employee performance improvement plans is when a worker is having trouble.

A manager should be able to recognize the warning indications of a performer. Reduced involvement, decreased productivity, more time off, or a rise in delinquency are a few indicators that an employee may be having trouble.

The process should start when there is a definite tendency toward poor performance.
A performance improvement plan may also be implemented for the following reasons:

  • When a worker is still on their company’s probationary period

  • If an employee has a track record of dependability but has recently shown a clear trend toward poor performance

  • If a worker performs well in the majority of their duties but demonstrates poor performance in a small percentage of them

  • The PIP offers a workable substitute when your employee handbook lacks an appropriate performance improvement plan.

  • Personal issues may have impacted a worker’s recent performance; they are currently facing.

Performance Improvement Plan Template

Following our five-step process, you can design your performance improvement plan. However, to save time, we advise you to search online for an appropriate template.

How to create a plan for performance improvement?

You know what your PIP must contain now that you’ve seen some instances. It is time to put everything in place and begin drafting a performance improvement plan for a particular employee and problem.

Here is a step-by-step tutorial on creating a performance improvement plan to assist you.

Establish a performance standard.

Indicate the level of performance that would be considered appropriate and contrast it with the actions your employee is now taking.

Be precise about the employee’s shortcomings and provide instances to prove your point.

Work together

Have a meeting in advance to discuss performance difficulties rather than shockingly giving an employee a PIP.

The opportunity for input from the manager, HR, and the employee should be provided. You want the worker to feel motivated and dedicated to achieving goals.

Establish quantifiable goals

Set the goals that your employee must achieve using the SMART framework. Decide how you’ll evaluate your success.

Advice: Identify the cause of any performance issues.

A PIP must be worth the work; you must be specific. Discover the root of the poor performance.

The worker may feel overburdened by work obligations or cope with undiscovered personal issues.

Another possibility for the issue is that the worker has no desire to work for your business in the long run.

Specify the assistance the worker will get.

Indicate how the manager of the employee will assist him in achieving the PIP target. This can entail using extra resources, coaching, or training.

Consider How You Can Best Assist the Employee.

An employee’s improvement is the primary goal of a PIP to keep him on your team.

Instead of expecting him to accomplish the goals on his own, think about what he could be missing from you that could improve his performance.

Create a check-in schedule.

Indicate the frequency of your meetings with the employee for feedback. Make a check-in calendar.

Don’t wait until the last minute.

Making a PIP and checking the employee’s progress after the deadline is passed is useless.

Regular check-ins will allow the employee to express any uncertainties or problems.

Additionally, they will enable you to determine whether further action is required or whether he is on the correct course.

List the effects of a lack of progress.

Make it clear what will happen if the employee doesn’t achieve the improvement target.

You ought to now be aware of your motivation for using a PIP, how to tailor one to your particular circumstances, and what information to include.

  • Your employee must be able to reply appropriately and complete the PIP. To ensure everything goes as efficiently as possible, provide your employee with the following suggestions.

  • Pay more attention to improvement than to punishment.

  • Your employee must not interpret the PIP as a warning that he will shortly be fired.

  • Don’t forget to compliment him on his strengths and express your desire to see him develop. Establish a goal that will benefit everyone and that the employee feels confident he can accomplish.

Examples of PIPs

We have included the following categories in this example:

Model 1

Employee Information: Details on the individual employee, their position, and their management.

Target Area:

Describe problems with behavior and performance, giving specific instances of when and where expectations have not been reached.

Expected Standard:

Describe the performance and conduct standards for the employee.

Improvement Measures:

Describe the steps that must be followed to achieve the desired level of performance.

Training and Support:

Agree on the type of support and training the employee may require to increase their performance.

Check-ins and reviews:

Arrange regular gatherings to monitor progress, discuss strengths and weaknesses, and identify potential obstacles.

Final Review

Note any advancements in the target area in precise detail. Be as specific as you can when recording poor or excellent behavior.

If the incident is recurring, quantify it. Attach any actual paperwork to your evidence to support it.

An employee’s acknowledgment that they have been put on a PIP is an acknowledgment. The employee knows that further disciplinary action may be taken if the required level is not met and maintained.

Model 2

Employee Information: Details on the individual employee, their position, and their management.

Give a thorough justification for the PIP, citing particular instances and dates where the requirements weren’t followed.

Expected Behavior/Performance Change – what is expected, the timeframe allotted, the necessary support and training requirements, and any other details.


Establish recurring dates to record and monitor any changes in behavior or performance.

Ways to make improvements – Determine whether the worker requires assistance. This could be accomplished through education, workshops, or a committed mentor.

Check-ins and the final evaluation To monitor positive and negative changes, schedule regular meetings.

Set aside a meeting to thoroughly evaluate the employee’s performance at the conclusion of the agenda plan.

How to react to and live through a PIP?

You must understand how to overcome a performance improvement plan as an employee so that you can learn from it.

How to react to an improvement plan for performance
Your manager needs to have established reachable and fair performance goals.

You must now determine whether these goals are desirable.

You can save everyone time and tension by commencing a job search in its place if you have no interest in remaining with the company for an extended period.

Try to think positively about the PIP if you determine that keeping your job is worthwhile, which should be the majority of the time.

Consider it helpful criticism to aid your learning and expand both inside the business and throughout your whole career.

A performance improvement plan survival guide

The following stage is to complete your performance improvement plan and emerge as a more capable and valuable employee. This entails:

Prioritizing your work

Avoid going out late on work nights, accept all invites to optional work functions, and limit your time at work to tasks that are directly relevant to your job.

  • The employer and management will collaborate to create a strategy, and management will make an effort to encourage the conversation to identify the precise areas that need improvement.

  • Managers and HR officials should always keep an eye on the plan.

  • Reviews within the PIP spectrum are no different from other annual reviews in that they are a crucial component of ongoing employee development.

  • By doing this, you can ensure that workers follow the plan as it is laid out and that PIP recipients are treated fairly.

The management should regularly assess the worker’s performance at work, give them criticism, and, if necessary, take further disciplinary action.

Getting assistance when necessary

A PIP is frequently a sign that your employer thinks you are valuable enough to keep on as an employee.

Request clarification from your boss or HR.

A plan for improving employee performance is used to assist staff in achieving objectives they may find difficult to reach and to try and stop unhelpful practices.

An employee PIP can be seen as a probationary period for workers on a more fundamental level, and many people see it as the first step in firing an employee.

What advantages can employee performance improvement plans offer?

There are several advantages, including engaging workers by allowing them to alter their performance and behaviors, giving them precise feedback and highlighting specific areas where they may improve, and demonstrating to workers that the company is aware of their current difficulties.

Furthermore, by putting a PIP process in place, the danger of litigation is diminished if performance does not improve and the dismissal takes place.

Your company’s success depends on the development of your employees.


A performance improvement plan should never be viewed as a quick step leading up to termination, regardless of whether you are the employer or the employee.

Instead, it should be a helpful tool for turning a struggling employee into a priceless asset for the business.

This might be the case in some circumstances, but PIPs can benefit the employer and the employee.

A PIP frequently indicates that the employer wishes to maintain the employee. It is a systematic approach focusing on improvement through formal documentation and people management strategies.

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