How Useful Is a Performance Improvement Plan for ‘Slackers’?

How Useful Is a Performance Improvement Plan for ‘Slackers’?

If something bothers companies until they get to the performance improvement plan, it’s the workplace slackers. Having employees make mistakes, miss deadlines, or walk away is more than day-to-day frustration. It can also harm our business. How do we deal with those workers? How do we support these people?

In this case, we will talk about a performance improvement plan. This tool can give us clear expectations for the betterment of workers. It also illustrates the consequences if they fall short of performance expectations.

What Is a Performance Improvement Plan?

The performance improvement plan is a paper document describing how the employee fails to meet expectations and needs improvement. In addition, an improvement plan can also be helpful for an employee who is performing well and is interested in moving into a new role. The following are the reasons that a performance improvement plan is critical.

Before that, only 50% of employees “fully agreed” that they knew what was expected of them in the workplace. Maybe that’s why they fail. Since we know that PIP is a helpful tool to stimulate people to meet expectations, we must do it right.

Performance Improvement Plan: What to Avoid?

Surprisingly, about 80% of Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) are ineffective in improving performance. There must be something wrong there.

1. PIPs do not involve meaningful conversations. 

Unfortunately, PIP conversations are often complicated, making giving and getting feedback difficult. It is not enough to prepare and deliver the performance improvement plan to the employee. Supervisors must discuss the PIP with the employee, answer questions and respond to concerns.

2. Time-consuming PIP.

For the PIP program, the manager must create the document, discuss it with the employee and track the assessments. To avoid a time-consuming PIP, limit its scope to specific and measurable objectives and avoid tackling multiple areas of improvement at the same time. Also, focus first on the most critical areas for improvement and prioritize which measures have the most impact.

3. The misconception of the PIP.

We may have clearly explained the reasons for the PIP (underperformance or advancement). However, the employee may still not interpret it correctly. Encourage employees to take ownership of their PIP and allow them to self-reflect and self-assess. Also, provide ongoing feedback to help the employee stay focused and on track.

How to Develop the Performance Improvement Plan

We may have challenges, we may have underperformers, and we may need to do better. But first of all, make sure the PIP program is the best solution. If so, we’ll begin with this.

1. Meet with the employee involved.

An employee-manager discussion is essential. Through conversation and Q&A sessions, an employee can easily interpret a performance improvement plan, and the employer can execute the PIP well.

2. Identify areas to improve.

Begin by reviewing current employee performance. Determine areas for improvement based on objectives, client input, or industry standards.

3. Set clear, measurable, and achievable targets.

Define what success looks like in every area that needs improvement. Make sure targets are clear, can be measured, and can be achieved.

4. Draw up an action plan.

Identify the steps necessary to meet each goal. Identify accountabilities and timelines for each action.

5. Implement & monitor progress.

Put the action plan into action and monitor and measure progress toward each objective on an ongoing basis.

6. Assess & Adjust.

Regularly review, evaluate, and make adjustments to the performance improvement plan to ensure its effectiveness.

Performance Improvement Plan Example

Here we see the story of Eriksen with his low sales performance. Erik and his manager will work together to improve his sales performance and meet their goals.

Performance Improvement Plan

Employee: Christian Eriksen

Department: Sales

Performance issue: weak sales performance

Objective: To improve Eriksen’s sales return by 25% over the next 3 months.

Action plan:

  1. Offer additional sales training: Erik will receive additional training to help him gain the skills to improve his sales performance.
  2. Set weekly sales goals: Erik and his SPV will set weekly sales goals to help him stay on track.
  3. Give regular feedback: Erik’s SPV will provide regular feedback to assist in identifying areas for improvement.
  4. Schedule weekly checks: Erik and his manager will schedule weekly reviews to track progress and give feedback.


After three months, SPV will assess Erik’s performance and the effectiveness of the performance improvement plan. Additional actions can be taken to support Erik’s improvement if objectives are not achieved.


Well, we can’t call our people slackers if the problems may come from the Performance Improvement Plan‘s misinterpretation. It is our responsibility, managers, to make people aware of what goals they need to achieve and what expectations they meet.