HR Glossary  >   Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

If an employee is underperforming, it can be challenging to discuss without offending. However, it is a necessary topic, especially if a lack of productivity is affecting others. In this case, the best course of action is to design an intelligent performance improvement strategy that motivates an employee who is struggling to achieve.

When employees present repeated performance concerns, employers might develop a Performance Improvement Plan (pip full form) for them. These are official documents that identify the problems that need to be addressed, contain a clear list of goals that the employee must achieve, and outline a schedule for achieving those goals. The PIP, when implemented appropriately and at the appropriate time, can prove to be a valuable tool for a company.

It's essential to strike a balance between nudging an individual in the correct direction and fostering their growth and pleasure in the workplace. This is made considerably more difficult when the employee does not recognize the problem by themselves. So, let's look at when and how to adopt an employee performance enhancement strategy.

Defining a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

A PIP is a formal document that outlines any recurring performance difficulties. Along with this, it specifies the objectives that an employee must meet to recover good standing with the firm. If you're placed on a PIP, your supervisor and HR will most likely meet with you to discuss the details and address any issues you might have.

In simpler terms, PIP meaning is similar to being placed on probation. It's like being closely watched, similar to how it happens in school. During this period, your performance is closely monitored. Failing to meet the PIP requirements by the deadline could result in the likelihood of losing your job.

What is the need for PIP?

PIPs are intended for employees who are experiencing a deficit in some aspect. This does not necessarily imply a lack of effort on their part; quite the opposite. It could be that an employee had insufficient induction or training, had a jarring experience upon returning from leave or secondment, is not employing the appropriate employee engagement tools, or that there has been a change in your business model.

That is why it is critical to determine the fundamental cause of any performance issues before developing a performance improvement strategy. This can be accomplished by utilizing a root cause analysis template. A performance management plan is useful for a variety of reasons, but the common thread is that you, as a manager, are to witness a positive change in employee performance.

Benefits of the Performance Improvement Plan

While a Performance Improvement Plan aims to address and fix specific issues, its influence is frequently far greater.

Better working conditions for staff

When managers assist employees in setting performance goals, they are more engaged, which inspires them to take greater pleasure in their work, create better results, and increase overall job satisfaction.

More skilled personnel

Skill gaps are frequently the source of many workplace performance difficulties. A PIP will help you discover knowledge gaps, determine the training required to address them, and establish an effective training schedule.

Stronger connections

Performance improvement programs frequently provide the path for important talks to occur. Employees become more engaged when managers and supervisors are more accessible and approachable.

Improved employee retention

By stressing the positive parts of a PIP, employees will realize that their bosses genuinely support them and want them to succeed. A positive and strategic PIP can help struggling employees get back online and improve.

What are the elements of PIP?


A performance improvement plan (PIP) should involve evaluating the employee's present and past performance. Tracking performance over time can assist in determining when and why performance became an issue. At this point, it is critical to communicate honestly and clearly in case a simple solution can be established.


A PIP needs clear aims to function well. Ensure that these goals are addressed and agreed upon jointly. For someone who struggles with time management, you could set a daily goal of clocking in on time for the duration of the PIP. It is also vital to specify any disciplinary action that may be taken if goals are not attained.


Determine when each target should be reached. This can vary depending on the particular aim and situation of each employee, but the format of the plans you use for welcoming new employees can serve as a good starting point. To keep the employee on track, establish milestones and checkpoints within the PIP's time frame.

Resources and Training

List any additional resources, training, or coaching that you will provide to assist the employee in meeting their PIP goals. Employees should not be expected to finish a PIP without this level of support. Leaders should also evaluate where the funds for these resources will come from.

Meeting times

Regular meetings should be a PIP pillar. In addition to one-on-one sessions at the beginning, middle, and conclusion of a PIP, brief weekly check-ins are beneficial. Real-time input from both leaders and staff should be included throughout.

Action Stages

Give your employee a step-by-step plan to improve their performance and meet your previously set standards. Include regular check-ins with leadership to verify the individual stays on track with the PIP. An action plan may involve further training in areas where the employee requires improvement or other necessary resources.

When is PIP appropriate in the organization?

The primary purpose of a performance review is to provide individuals who are not performing to their full potential with an organized strategy to improve. While a Performance Improvement Plan is not necessarily a punishment, it should not be taken lightly.

For example, before placing someone on a PIP, assess how much of the fault lies with the employee. Is it a failure on their part or due to other factors? Has their supervisor offered adequate evidence of a problem, or have they set unachievable expectations? This is a critical issue to ask because if the fault is elsewhere, management should address it.

Consider the following scenario: you have an employee who struggles with time management. To justify placing somebody on a performance development plan, the gap must be recurring and impact their job.

Furthermore, springing a PIP on an employee is not recommended. It should be the conclusion of an ongoing conversation. If you've tried persuasion to modify an employee's attitude and the problem persists, it's time to think about a performance plan.


PIPs may have a bad reputation, but when developed and handled appropriately, they can assist a person in improving their performance. When utilized effectively as part of a holistic performance management plan, PIPs can help employees realize precisely where their performance is missing, gain a clear idea of how to improve their jobs, and set tangible goals that allow them to take responsibility for their development.

Documenting PIPs is not only a good practice for tracking your employees' progress and feedback but is also often required by law. If you ever have to fire an employee for poor performance, having a clear and consistent record of PIPs will help you avoid any lawsuits or discrimination claims. Documenting PIPs with the help of a performance improvement plan template allows you to express your expectations and goals to your staff while also providing evidence of your support and coaching.


Is a performance improvement plan a discipline measure?

A Performance Improvement Plan isn't intended to penalize an employee. Its purpose is to provide them with an opportunity to improve their performance.

Is a personal improvement plan an approach toward termination?

Employees have a common idea that once on a PIP, they are on a slippery slope to dismissal. Now, failing to comply with a PIP could lead to dismissal.

How Can I Ensure that My PIP is Successfully Completed?

Throughout your PIP, you should communicate with your boss about your progress frequently. Checking in as often as possible will allow you to address any potential hurdles early on and position yourself for success.

What duration should a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) be?

The duration of a Performance Improvement Plan is determined by various internal criteria, including the company's size and profile, the employee's job complexity, and how far they deviate from the company's norm. Typically, the timeframes are 30, 60, and 90 days.

What is the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) process?

The PIP process begins when a supervisor finds a performance gap between an employee's current performance level and the desired performance levels. After identifying the gap, the supervisor establishes performance goals and objectives and communicates them to the individual. The procedure then involves regular feedback meetings and an assessment of the employee's progress.

How to Implement a Performance Improvement Plan?

Performance Improvement Plans should be established when employees fail to meet performance objectives or when skills lag. It is a proactive approach to identifying possible difficulties and developing solutions to overcome them.

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