Performance Improvement Management – A guide to Managing performance Improvement. 3

Summary: The Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is designed to facilitate constructive discussion between a staff member and his or her manager or supervisor to clarify the work performance to be improved.

“There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the real great man is the man who makes every man feel great. — G.K. Chesterton

 I am a firm believer in Performance planning and the power of a well-planned and measurable Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).

 The Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is designed to facilitate constructive discussion between a staff member and his or her manager or supervisor to clarify the work performance to be improved. This is applicable irrespective of whether the discussion is part of an annual review or takes place in the form of performance counseling associated with disciplinary action.

  It is implemented, at the discretion of the supervisor or manager, when it becomes necessary to help a staff member improve performance.

  The supervisor or manager develops with the subordinate an improvement plan that is acceptable to both. The overall purpose and outcome is to assist the employee to achieve the desired level of performance.

 A Performance Improvement Plan will differ from the annual performance development planning process in the amount and quantity of the detail. Employees who are performing their jobs effectively, and meeting the expectations of the performance development process, will not need to participate in performance improvement sessions

Following a performance improvement session the manager or supervisor should monitor and provide feedback to the employee regarding his or her performance and may take additional disciplinary action, if necessary, through the company’s disciplinary process.

The supervisor should discuss the following

  • State performance to be improved – give specific examples
  • Outline and discuss the level of expectation and that it must be performed on a consistent basis
  • Explain the level of support and resources that will be provided to assist the employee
  • Discuss the plan for providing feedback and specify the measurements to be used in evaluating progress
  • Explain the consequences if performance standards are not met.

Managers and supervisors should be committed to helping their staff improve performance and this will be best achieved through counseling on performance problems.

Counseling is a necessary ongoing interaction between a supervisor/manager and an individual who works in his or her work area. Regular counseling brings performance issues to an employee’s attention and assists the employee to correct them.

The goal of counseling is to work with the employee to solve performance problems and at the same time implement a performance improvement plan.  

There are various steps that should be followed in effective counseling or coaching

  • Show confidence in the subordinates ability and willingness to solve the problem. Ask the subordinate for help in solving the problem. It is important for subordinates to feel they have participated in arriving at a solution. This way you will get some form of “buy in”
  • Describe the performance problem and illustrate this with some specific examples. Focus only on the problem or behavior that needs improvement and not the person. Discuss with the subordinate his/her view on the matter under discussion.
  • Determine if any situation exists that might limit the employee’s ability to perform as desired. Discuss with the employee how these barriers might be removed. When a decision has been agreed add the required actions to the performance improvement plan.  
  • Discuss potential solutions to the performance problem. Ask the employee for ideas on how to correct the problem, or prevent it from happening again. Offer your suggestions.
  • Agree on a final action plan and list what the employee, the supervisor or manager will do to correct or improve the situation.
  • Discuss the proposed feedback that will be given and agree when such sessions will take place.  Make sure the employee understands that the purpose of the feedback sessions is solely to establish progress with the performance improvement plan and to offer further assistance should this be necessary.
  • Offer positive encouragement and reinforce your confidence in the subordinates competence and ability to make the required improvements

© Des Squire (Managing Member)


Cell 0828009057

Share on Social Media

About Des Squire

I specialise in Employment Equity and Skills Development issues. Qualified facilitator, assessor, moderator, verifier and SDF. Available for any related assignments and or freelance work. If ou have a need let's meet to discuss. Quotes for training on request.

Leave a comment

3 thoughts on “Performance Improvement Management – A guide to Managing performance Improvement.

  • Des Squire Post author

    Hi Malcolm

    Many thanks for the constructive comment – See how I have edited the article!!!

    Your comments are valid and yes this is a big problem. In many cases the CEO should in fact participate and attend the training – if not to learn then just to enjoy the interaction with delegates. 

    The strength of any company is in the unification of employees with management. Over the years the gap has ben allowed to widen and in many instances is currently a huge void. In adition there are far too many managers and supervisors in positions for which they are not qualified. One way of countering this is by getting managers and staff to start relating, communicating and working together to sort out problems and decide on solutions. One lesson I learnt in managment many years ago is not to be too proud to admit when i am wrong and not to b afraid to aske my employees for assistance. 

    In so many facets of lif it is time for all of us to admit our limitations and to admit we get results with and through others. We all have a great deal to learn and i must admit that (at my tender age) I still learn on a daily basis    

  • Pieter Staal

    Hi Des – good advice – and appropriate around this time of year for those companies doing 6 monthly assessments.  I always advise managers to find something that the employee is doing right during this time of PIP for it is so easy to find something wrong. This ties in with your last bullit point of offering positive encouragement.

    Unless the employee is purposely performing poorly, why would one want to follow further disciplinary steps – or is this what you were meaning above?

    Thanks always enjoy your articles.