What are Performance Improvement Plans?

Performance improvement Plans or PIPs are a management tool (action plan) that is implemented when a manager believes it becomes necessary to help an employee improve his or her performance.

The Manager with the input from the employee develops the PIP;

    • The purpose of the activities outlined is to help the employee to attain the desired level of performance.
    • PIPs usually last between 30 & 90 days depending on how long it would reasonably take to improve the specific issue.
Performance Improvement Plans

What should be included in the PIP;

    • Information on what acceptable performance levels are and how the employees current performance is deficient.
    • Specifics regarding the unacceptable performance should be given including dates, data and detailed explanations.
    • The position description should be attached and any relevant policies and procedures to further clarify expectations.
    • Guidance on what Management will do or provide to assist the employee in achieving these goals, such as additional resources which could include an employee handbook, training or coaching and mentoring.
    • Details on how often the Manager and employee will meet to discuss progress. This may vary depending on the circumstances.
    • Clearly stated consequences for not meeting the objectives of the plan. Options should be in line with the organisation’s disciplinary policy.
Human Resources should review the plan with a focus on removing any bias against the employee;

Is the performance issue clearly stated and well substantiated?

Are the objectives for the time frames reasonable?

Has the employee been provided with proper tools and training needed to improve?

The key to this step is to ensure that the plan is attainable and fair. Not just a means to terminate the employee.

  • The Manager should meet with the employee to discuss the plan, seek feedback, and discuss expectations. The employee should be allowed to take along a Union Representative which may be a delegate and or a Union Official to the meeting.
  • The Manager should also convey his or her own commitment to the plan and to the employee’s success.
  • Once Human Resources has reviewed the changes, the final plan should be signed by both the Manager and the employee and forwarded to Human Resources for approval.
  • Cancelling meetings or showing up late would convey a lack of importance and commitment on the Manager’s part.
  • The Manager should ensure all progress meetings are scheduled and occur on time.
  • The employee at any stage shall be allowed to be supported by a Union Delegate or Official.
  • If the employee meets the objectives set, then the PIP should be signed off by the manager as a successful outcome.
  • If the employee is committed to improvement but falls short of the objectives within the established timeframe, the plan should be extended and modified in order to give the employee a bit more time to succeed.
  • After fully discussing the plan, the Manager may make modifications based on employee feedback.
  • Progress towards goals should be documented and discussed seeking to identify why improvements have or have not been made. If gaps in training or required tools become apparent, the Manager needs to ensure these are given to the employee as soon as possible. This also needs to be recorded in the PIP.
  • The Manager should encourage the employee to lead these meetings, to self-report on how they believe they are doing and what realisations they might have made, or what else they feel they need to succeed.
  • If you have any questions or require any additional information regarding this process please contact the United Services Union on 1300136604 and we will be only too happy to assist.

If you are not a union member and would like to join you can do so here.

The United Services Union is here to help you and are by your side so please remember that you are not alone in dealing with this.  We can assist you and your colleagues develop plans that address mental health concerns in the workplace. For assistance you can call us on 1300136604 or join at usu.org.au/join