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Management documents Performance Improvement Plan documents

Performance improvement plan (PIP) guide

Reviewed 25 March 2021

This guidance is designed to assist managers to encourage employees to achieve and maintain standards of job performance. Managers should ensure consistent and fair treatment for all and to assist any employee who is considered to be experiencing difficulties in performing satisfactorily the duties required of the post to which they were appointed.

This guidance provides managers with a framework to improve an employees performance in the workplace.

Performance improvement plan (PIP)

Performance Improvement Plan Meetings

The purpose of the Performance Improvement Plan Meeting is to establish or clarify the cause(s) of the underperformance and to agree a Performance Improvement Plan to deal with it/them.

The steps involved:

  1. Set the scene
  2. Invite Jobholder’s View
  3. Give Manager’s View
  4. Resolution/Solution
  5. Summary of Agreement

Details of how each step should work

1. Setting the scene

The meeting should take place in private, in an environment that is comfortable, nonthreatening and away from interruptions or distractions. A representative from HR will be in attendance to take notes.

The meeting should be against a backdrop where the manager has already been giving regular feedback to the jobholder about his or her performance (i.e. not just at Appraisal meetings), including on aspects of the jobholder’s performance which are not satisfactory.

The manager should confirm that the jobholder has been offered to have a colleague or trade union rep with them in the meeting, and ask the jobholder to clarify whether they have accepted or declined the offer.

The manager should advise the jobholder that notes are being taken of the meeting; that a copy of the notes will be provided to him or her; and that the notes will not be copied to any other party. The manager should clarify that the purpose of the notes is to help both parties by providing a clear record of the meeting.

The manager carrying out the interview should begin the meeting by outlining to the jobholder the objectives of the Performance Improvement Plan Meeting.

These are:

  • to clarify what are the standards of performance which are expected of the jobholder, in the context of his or her Role Profile.
  • to clarify in what respects the jobholder has been meeting the required standards.
  • to clarify in what respects the jobholder has not been meeting the required standards.
  • to identify the causes of underperformance.
  • to agree a Performance Improvement Plan to assist the jobholder to improve his or her performance to the required standard, within a specified timeframe.
  • to ensure that the jobholder is aware that where satisfactory improvement is not achieved, consideration may be given to invoking the Disciplinary Procedure.

2. Jobholder’s View

Having set the scene, the manager should invite the jobholder to express his or her own views on their performance.

The manager’s approach to the rest of the meeting will be determined by what he or she learns in this part of the meeting. It is, therefore, important that the manager should adopt an open, non-judgemental stance and actively listen to what the jobholder is saying.

Where the jobholder is not offering specific causes for underperformance, the manager should be alert to cues which might suggest what the causes are.

The disclosed or suggested causes of underperformance are likely to fall into one of the following categories:

1. That there have been mitigating factors such as increased workload, workplace stress, bullying etc. which prevented the jobholder from performing to the required standard.

Where this happens the manager should seek guidance from HR. If a claim is later found to be unjustified then the manager can go back to the process of dealing with underperformance.

2. Lack of clear goals/expectations.

Where this happens the manager should use this opportunity to clarify requirements and expectations, e.g. objectives, standards and priorities, provide adequate encouragement, guidance, support or information, and set reasonable or attainable objectives and standards. It is also important for jobholders to r

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