Performance management is an essential part of employee development and company success. It takes careful planning, tracking and analyzing to help employees achieve their goals. An employee gets hired because a hiring manager believes they are the best person for the job; the expectation is not that an employee will fail. Unfortunately, performance doesn’t always go as planned.

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Sometimes employees hit roadblocks, are suffering from personal issues or are feeling unengaged at work. These, and many other things, can lead to poor performance. It’s not because the employee was a bad hire or is a bad worker, they may just need a little extra support. In fact, 72% of respondents to a recent survey felt their performance would improve with corrective feedback.

When employee performance has taken a turn for the worse, getting them back on track might be as simple as creating a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). We’ve outlined the necessities below:

Ensure Documentation from the Beginning

In a recent study, 92% of respondents agreed with the assertion, “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving employee performance.” Part of delivering feedback appropriately is having the facts to back it up. If you’ve noticed a problem with an employee, seek out documentation to confirm your suspicions. Never take action on hunches or gut feelings.

#NegativeFeedback can actually improve employee performance. Learn how to make it happen: @ClearCompany #HR #PerformanceManagement

Documentation not only helps you develop specific goals in the next step, it also protects your company from lawsuits. In cases of termination, documentation of substandard performance ensures an employee can’t claim another illegal reason for being terminated.

Develop a Course of Action

When a clear, defined problem with an employee is laid out and backed up with data and specific examples, you can begin to develop a solution. Only 21% of employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work; a performance management plan sets out to change that.

The plan you develop with the employee needs to have specific goals to be met. There can be no generalities, like “Employee needs to finish work faster.” Instead, try, “Employee must consistently finish work at or before deadlines for the next X days/months.” You’ll be setting them up for success. Among employees who strongly agree that their manager helps them set performance goals, 69% are engaged.

Finally, sign a contract with the employee to ensure the plan is clear and they have the full intent to accomplish their goals. This is another way the company will be protected should the plan unfortunately fail and lead to termination.

Track Progress

Conduct regular meetings with the employee to ensure they are on track to meet goals. Depending on the length of the plan and the goals to be met, you may need to hold constructive meetings more often. In fact, 64% of workers say their supervisors don’t give them enough support. Find out if your employee is experiencing any roadblocks and how they feel about the progression of the plan. Ask if there are any ways you might be able to help the employee - and if they have ideas, follow through to show your support.

64% of employees say their #managers don’t give them enough support. What are you doing to support your employees? @ClearCompany #HR #PerformanceManagement

Again, documentation is key. Make note of any extra efforts or slip-ups by the employee. Have they stayed late to watch extra training videos? Was their production up or down by a certain percentage? Did another employee praise the work they’ve done recently? All of this should go into your final report.

Review Results and Come to a Conclusion

Finally, you will review the results of the performance improvement plan. When looking over the documented results, ask yourself: Were all goals met by the employee? Were only some of the goals met? Did the employee’s performance actually worsen instead of improve? Depending on the status of the goals you set together, the performance management plan may result in a few actions.

  1. An end to the plan: In this case, the employee met all of the outlined goals and showed a marked improvement in performance. The plan is completed and work resumes as normal.
  2. An extension of the plan: If the employee did not meet all of the goals, but still showed improvement and a sincere desire to do better, you may consider extending the plan for a few more weeks or months. Consider revising or updating goals, as well as holding meetings more often.
  3. Reassignment or termination: If the goals were not met and the employee did not make sincere attempts to improve, you may consider moving them to a more appropriate department or terminating the employee.

However the plan concludes, be sure to sit down and evaluate how the process went. What worked best for the employee? What didn’t work at all? Take your findings into account the next time you need to develop a performance management plan. If you need help documenting employee performance, consider ClearCompany’s complete Performance Management system. Schedule a demo today to get the details from one of our product experts!

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Meredith Wholley
Meredith Wholley
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As a Marketing and Event Manager, Meredith coordinates best-practice content and brand-awareness events for ClearCompany. With her career in HR tech, Meredith works closely with HR practitioners and is passionate about providing them with the tools and information they need to succeed.

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