Should You Fear a Performance Improvement Plan?

Julie Shenkman
Posted by in Administrative & Clerical Services

A common procedure during employee evaluations is to compile a performance improvement plan. Employers often focus on ways their subordinates can improve skills to enhance the productivity and profitability of the company. Many employees fear the process of undergoing an evaluation, as negative feedback may lead to termination. Seek out ways to motivate and inspire employees instead of fostering a culture of fear when evaluating performance.

A performance improvement plan is often viewed as a reprimand by employees, explains Jacob Shriar with Officevibe. A manager who notices that performance is slipping or deadlines are not met often compiles evaluations outlining the behavior, performance and goals to improve productivity.

Employees tend to dread these meetings, as managers are not always equipped with the tools to make the process productive or motivating. It is important to notify the employee that performance will be monitored, but employees also need to know specific behaviors and initiatives they can take to succeed. Provide a detailed outline of what is expected during annual employee evaluations, offer professional development opportunities to better train the employee and show that the company is invested in the employee's success when reviewing performance.

A productive meeting to review a performance improvement plan relies on the manager's ability to provide clear and concise feedback. Employees should feel comfortable asking questions without feeling as if their impending future with the company is already determined. Managers who truly want to retain the employee should provide feedback that is honest and sincere. Meet with the employee periodically during the term of the performance improvement plan to review small steps that lead to success and improvement. Give credit where credit is due, so the employee feels motivated and inspired to perform at a higher level.

Most importantly, managers must take the blame for a dip in performance, too. Employees who are not given direction or proper training should not have to bear the weight of a drop in productivity or performance, especially when managers are responsible for providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to complete daily tasks.

Avoid intimidation tactics during a performance improvement plan meeting with employees. Boost morale by pointing out both negative and positive traits of your subordinates. Employees with poor performance who do not feel inspired can infect the work environment with negativity.

Poor work performance is contagious. Tackle issues within the company culture before it affects the performance of more employees. Identify the thoughts and feelings of employees regarding company evaluations to avoid employees fearing the process or feeling as if they are overlooked.

Businesses should establish a consistent process for reviewing employee's tasks and goals to help eliminate any fear associated with the performance improvement plan. Employers who are invested in developing the skills and knowledge of employees often gain respect, thereby proving how constructive feedback can be mutually beneficial for all parties involved.

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