When and Why Would You Use a Performance Improvement Plan?

It can be difficult for management to understand why an employee may be excelling in one area of a job while underperforming in another. Performance is evaluated on an ongoing basis but, often, it is an annual review. A Performance Improvement Program (PIP) basically shortens the length of performance reviews. It provides more feedback more often to an employee, normally around a specific issue.


A PIP should be implemented when an employee consistently performs poorly or behaves inappropriately. For example, if an employee is consistently late for work, missing due dates, or conducts themselves in an improper manner, a PIP may be a necessary initiative. Although it may be easy to identify where an employee falls short of expectations, it can be difficult to identify the root cause of the problem. For instance, issues in an individual’s personal life, conflicts at work, or even management style may all be the reasons for performance issues.


PIPs can give employees the opportunity to correct any behavioral or performance issues that may be affecting their overall success. By providing employees with achievable and timely goals, employees are given the opportunity to be more engaged at work. The facilitator of the PIP should meet regularly with the individual throughout the process to provide feedback that can keep the employee motivated and productive, as well as to hear feedback from the employee.


Although PIPs are centered around employee work performance, there are a variety of benefits for both the employee and the company. Organizations have reported the following benefits as a result of implementing PIPs:

  • Increased productivity
  • Greater quality of work
  • Deepened relationships between management and the employee
  • Greater job fulfillment


In short, PIPs are there to help pinpoint a specific issue and work together for the future of the employee and the company. Greater job fulfillment on behalf of the employee is almost always the result of a successful PIP. It is important to let your employee know that they have great potential and that you truly want them to succeed with the company, hence why you are implementing a PIP instead of simply firing them.

About the author, Rhamy

Rhamy grew up watching and working with his mother and grandmother in the senior insurance market. This familiarity with the struggles faced by people trying to navigate the incredibly complicated and heavily regulated healthcare market led him to start Poplar Financial while working on his degree at the University of Memphis. After completing his MBA and Bachelors in Finance and Economics, Rhamy guided Poplar Financial through the disruptive opportunity that is the Affordable Care Act. Since then Poplar Financial has received numerous awards from major insurance carriers and has completed its fourth year in a row of doubling in size. Now his team focuses on the processes around human resources and specializes in providing companies with between 20 and 1000 employees with the payroll, benefits, and HR needs.

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