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Being placed on a performance improvement plan? Time to act!

Being placed on a performance improvement plan? Time to act!

Artwork by: Aleksandra Zabnina

  • What is a performance improvement plan?
  • How do you approach a performance improvement plan meeting?
  • 1. Remain positive
  • 2. Ask questions
  • 3. Accept responsibility
  • How do you stay on track during your performance improvement plan?
  • Keep communication channels open
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Redouble your efforts
  • Identify opportunities
  • Check-in regularly
  • Key takeaways

Facing a performance improvement plan? By following a few simple steps, you can get through it with ease and become a valuable member of your team. We give you tips to get through the PIP process with flying colors!

Getting placed on a performance improvement plan (PIP) isn’t fun. It can sometimes feel like your professional life is crashing down around you. If you’re in this situation, you can relax, we’re here to help you navigate through this challenge with a few simple tips. 

Although it might not seem like it at first, a PIP is an opportunity for professional growth. It’s a great chance to show your supervisors that you’re made of stern stuff and that you value your professional development.

In this blog, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • What is a performance improvement plan?

  • How to handle a personal improvement plan meeting

  • How to get through your PIP successfully

What is a performance improvement plan?

A performance improvement plan is a program that companies use to help employees succeed in the workplace. It’s usually a response to repeated underperformance in a certain area and it gives employees a chance to enhance their work before experiencing other disciplinary action.

If you’re placed on a PIP, you’ll likely receive a formal document from your HR manager detailing the terms. This will usually include a detailed overview of the issues at stake, a list of company expectations and areas for improvement, a timeframe, a plan of action, and a description of further consequences.

Expert Tip

Should you quit if you’re put on a performance improvement plan?

Take a deep breath! Although you might feel exasperated or embarrassed, don’t make any rash decisions. Your PIP is a chance to improve and a sign that your company wants to keep you employed.

Looking for a new job is always challenging and it’s usually unwise to quit one job before you have another one. Unless you were considering a resignation or already have another job, stay on with your current company and do your best to improve your performance.

How do you approach a performance improvement plan meeting?

If your employer places you on a performance improvement plan, they’ll likely call you in for a meeting. This can be a scary moment, so it’s important to keep your cool. Here are a few tips that you can use to make it through this stressful time and excel at work:

1. Remain positive

Although a PIP may seem like a punishment, it’s important to remember that that’s not really what it is. A PIP is a way to improve performance without resorting to other disciplinary actions like termination or suspension. This means that your company sees potential in you and wants to keep you on while improving your performance. This should be encouraging, so remember to have a positive attitude throughout the meeting.

2. Ask questions

While you’re in the meeting, consider asking some questions about your company’s expectations and strategies for improvement. This shows that you take the undertaking seriously and want to improve your performance. Your supervisor may also have a range of helpful tips to help you improve your performance on a daily basis.

3. Accept responsibility

In some cases, a PIP may be unfair. Maybe your company misunderstood your work style or didn’t realize how much effort you put in. In some cases, companies don’t provide enough guidance or make their expectations clear. Despite all this, it’s important to accept responsibility when you meet with your supervisor. 

Even if you’ve been working hard, there are always new things to learn and new ways to improve. Try to avoid making excuses and focus on the future. This can help build a trusting relationship between you and your coworkers and show your boss that you want to be the best possible person for your role.

How do you stay on track during your performance improvement plan?

Once the meeting is over, it’s time to start putting in some elbow grease. It’s vital to understand the terms of the PIP and work towards improving daily. Here are a few tips that you can use to get through your probationary period and emerge as a more valuable employee:

Keep communication channels open

During your probationary period, it might be tempting to avoid other employees, especially supervisors. It’s important to remember that your coworkers and bosses are allies that want to see you succeed. Keep your communication channels open and don’t be afraid to ask about your performance. Open communication will also make it easier for your supervisor to observe your improvement.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

None of us succeeds alone, and there’s no shame in seeking assistance. If you have a high-performing coworker, ask them how they achieve success on a daily basis and try to implement similar strategies in your own life. You should also ask your supervisor for guidance and helpful tips to show your engagement.

Redouble your efforts

Many performance improvement plans include disciplinary provisions that kick in if the employee’s performance doesn’t improve. If your PIP includes these terms, don’t panic, you have plenty of time to make the necessary changes. Make sure to refocus your priorities and put more focus on productivity and quality of work. 

Identify opportunities

During your probationary period, look for opportunities to make yourself indispensable to your employer. If you have time, look for chances to lead and consider volunteering for extra tasks. Just make sure that these extra tasks don’t get in the way of your basic responsibilities. If you have any special talents or skills, try to bring them to bear at work, as this can make you irreplaceable.

Check-in regularly

It’s vital to stay centered as you complete your probationary period. Make sure to vet a copy of the PIP document and check it regularly to make sure you’re staying on track. You could also consider scheduling regular meetings with your boss to monitor your progress and identify solutions.

Key takeaways

  1. A performance improvement plan is a probationary program that companies use when an employee’s work is unsatisfactory.

  2. If you’re placed on a PIP, you’ll likely have a meeting with your supervisor and receive a document that outlines performance issues, areas of improvement, concrete steps for improvement, and company expectations.

  3. When you enter your PIP meeting, it’s important to stay positive, accept responsibility and ask questions about company concerns and improvement strategies.

  4. Once your probationary period begins, keep your communication channels open and regularly speak with your supervisors.

  5. Make sure to redouble your efforts at work and look for new opportunities to excel around the office.

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