When Employment Gives you Lemons....

Remember you can always use the PIP('s)!!


 Lemon, Limone, Lemon Tree


Underperformance of Employees is often a tricky situation that all Employers will find themselves having to manage at some stage.

It can be a difficult, and sometimes an uncomfortable subject, to address but nevertheless a conversation that needs to be had.

As an Employer, it’s important that you find the right balance between giving your Employee a little ‘nudge’ in the right direction and being required to implement a more formal process of correcting their performance to enable them to achieve the required productivity objectives.

It’s important to remember that not all Employees who appear to ‘not be working hard enough’ are doing that, as substandard performance can actually be a result of a number of things. For example; insufficient training or requiring further, ongoing support and/or guidance, insufficient resources or time to complete their activities. Insufficient performance therefore should not automatically be thought of as a lack of effort.

This is where the ‘PIP’ (Performance Improvement Plan) comes into play, and where there are many benefits to an Employee’s participation in such a process.

A ‘PIP’ is designed to be a formal tool that Employers can use to assist with outlining where a member of staff is struggling to succeed, and the exact work performance improvement required. A well-constructed PIP should also outline the steps and timeframe needed to achieve the expected standards, think SMART – Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely.

Unfortunately, the ‘PIP’ can sometimes be mistaken by Employees as a form of discipline with the belief that, by entering into this more formal process, it will only be a matter of time before they are heading for dismissal. It is therefore important that there is a clear line between ensuring that the PIP is used as a supportive and encouraging workplace tool, and the implementation of a formal performance management process where more serious consequences may occur.

Continual failure to reach the agreed performance standards could obviously, and ultimately, result in dismissal. However, if a good PIP process is being followed, dismissal should be a very last resort and an outcome only for the small percentage of Employees who are never going to achieve the desired outcomes regardless of how much coaching and support is provided to them.

The focus of the Employer at the PIP stage, should therefore remain firmly on wanting to assist the Employee with a change in their performance.

Therefore, it is essential for Employers to take the correct approach when discussing performance concerns with their staff to ensure best practice is followed. To get this wrong can have quite a significant financial consequence as a lack of process can often be defined as an ‘unjustified disadvantage’ by the Employee.

If you require advice or assistance with regards to introducing Performance Improvement Plans into your business, please contact us here at Russell Drake Consulting. We’re more than happy to help!

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