Performance Improvement Plan

Planning for improvement plan is a specific course of action for improving employee’s performance. In there, should be clear described about what will be done, by whom, and when.

By interview, we can determine one segment of performance which should be worked on first. This should be determined by manager and employee. The criteria to do it are:

  1. What does the manager feel is most important? Perhaps the employee could improve a weakness that is causing serious problems, or maybe the manager wants improvement in an already strong area.
  2. What area does the employee think should be worked on? This factor probably reveals the motivation of the employee to improve, because the employee usually won’t pick an area that she does not want to improve.
  3. What area of improvement would bring prompt results? This would provide a successful experience and could lead to improvement in other areas.
  4. What area of improvement would have the greatest payoff in advantages versus time, energy, and money expended? This would be an objective decision based only on facts and logic.

For developing the plan, we should consider the four aspects; they are:

  1. It should be practical. The specifics of the plan should be related to the job performance to be improved. Reading a theoretical book or taking a three-credit university course on industrial psychology might not be practical.
  2. It should be time oriented. Specific deadline dates should be set. These should be realistic and jointly determined.
  3. It should be specific. It should clearly describe what will be done. For example, if the area to be improved is the quality of communication with employees, the reading of a book by the employee would be one action to take. The name of a specific book should be listed, instead of the statement ‘‘Read a book on communications.’’
  4. It should involve commitment. Both manager and employee should be sold on the plan and committed to its implementation. They should agree that it will be done.

Requirements for Behaviour Change

Planning performance improvement program is created to deliver a better change for the company. There are five requirements to do this improvement program.

  1. Desire. The employee must want to change.
  2. Knowledge and Skill. The employee must know what to do and also how to do it.
  3. Climate. The employee must operate in a climate that provides an opportunity to behave in a different way. The most important factor in this climate is the manager. Managers can provide the following types of climate:

(a) Preventing. This means that the manager does not allow the employee to do what he or she wants to do.

(b) Discouraging. The manager doesn’t say, ‘‘You can’t,’’ but does say, ‘‘I wouldn’t recommend it,’’ or ‘‘I wouldn’t do it if I were you,’’ or ‘‘I’m not saying you can’t do it, but if you do it and it doesn’t work out, you are in trouble!’’ These statements discourage a employee from changing behaviour.

(c) Neutral. The manager leaves it up to the employee. The typical attitude of the manager is: ‘‘I just want results. If you want to do it, it’s up to you.’’

(d) Encouraging. The manager says, ‘‘It sound like a good idea. Why don’t you try it?’’

(e) Requiring. The manager says, ‘‘Do it and I’ll help you.’’ It’s pretty obvious that the climate must be neutral or better if the subordinate is going to change his behaviour. If the manager establishes a preventing or discouraging climate, it is almost certain that no change in behaviour will take place. Therefore, the entire process leading up to the desired change in behaviour must build the right climate between manager and employee.

  1. Help and Support. If an employee is going to improve, he will need encouragement and help. The person may be afraid to try something new because of fear of failure or an employee may intend to try it but not get around to it unless encouraged
  2. Rewards. People who know they will be rewarded for changing are apt to change. Also, if the rewards really come, they will be motivated to change in the future. Rewards for changing behaviour may be of a monetary or nonmonetary nature. Monetary rewards include salary increases, bonuses, or other financial incentives. Nonmonetary rewards include self-satisfaction, praise, increased responsibility, and more freedom and authority to act.\

Who Develops the Plan?

The plans should be practical, time oriented, and specific. The plan implementation needs manager and employee’s commitment so that the implementation process should be done softly. To get maximal result, training and development professional can help the process runs greatly.

How Should the Plan Be Developed?

When the needs for improvement have been determined, the first step is to determine the problem causes. The problem may come from the manager, employee, or company situation. Manager and employee can have a bad performance in work which lead problem appears.

Some typical mistakes which is often happen:

Doing What Shouldn’t Be Done

Supervising too closely

Criticizing every mistake

Requiring the employee to come to the manager for all decisions and solutions to all problems

Putting undue pressure on the employee

Not Doing What Should Be Done

Not clarifying what’s expected on the job

Not seeing that the employee has necessary skills to do the job

Not giving praise for a job well done

Not being available to the employee

Not listening and considering ideas of the employee

Not keeping the employee informed

Not taking a personal interest in the employee

Not encouraging the employee to grow through delegation, special assignments, and education

Not encouraging the employee to try out new ideas

Wrong Situation

Inadequate tools or equipment to work with

Shortage of materials

Poor working conditions, including noise, distractions, inadequate lighting, lack of space, and interruptions

Unsatisfactory co-workers

Changes in methods, procedures, or equipment that create problems for the employee

Consider All Possible Solutions

There are some possible ways to improve the performance. These should be listed under the categories of what the employee can do, what the manager can do, and what situations should be changed.

Attendance at staff meetings

Job rotation

Discussions with staff specialists

Study of manuals and procedure guides

Attendance at technical department programs

Temporary assignments to other departments

The Employee and the Performance Improvement Plan

In the beginning of on-the-job coaching, the agreement on the performance improvement plan should be done. The manager immediately picks up an obligation to see that the plan is carried out. Likewise, the employee picks up an obligation to implement the plan or to let the manager know as soon as anything happens that makes the plan impractical. If the plan is unrealistic, the plan revision must be conducted quickly so the company do not waste time to make improvement.

Summary

Performance improvement plan should be written specifically so that can be greatly helpful toward the company aim. This plan must include what will be done, by whom, and when. To be effective the plan should be practical, time oriented, and specific, with commitment on the part of both manager and employee. A training professional, if available, can provide valuable assistance. A good approach is to identify three specific kinds of actions to be taken: what will be done by the employee, what will be done by the manager, and what situations or conditions will be changed. The implementation of the plan becomes the joint responsibility of manager and employee, with the manager acts as the coach.

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