Tim Ford Explains Purpose of Performance Improvement Plans in SHRM.org ArticleFebruary 21, 2023
Employment lawyer Tim Ford regularly counsels employers on the importance of having employee manuals that specify progressive discipline policies. In a recent SHRM.org article, “PIPs: Write, Implement and Time Them Precisely,” Tim explains how managers and employers can effectively administer Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) as part of the progressive discipline policy.
“A PIP should be used primarily to facilitate improved performance by identifying deficiencies while providing an opportunity for improvement and success,” he said. “At the same time, a properly drafted and implemented PIP can serve to justify legitimate business reasons for termination and provide evidence of performance-related issues and failure to improve.”
Tim states that a progressive discipline policy often has four or five steps, and that a PIP is part of the third step:
- Coaching and re-establishing expectations.
- Verbal reprimand.
- Written reprimand.
- Suspension, which is not always appropriate.
When drafting PIPs, Tim encourages employers to identify the responsibility of the job position, job expectations and what would be acceptable performance, and then compare that to the employee’s current level of production. “Identify the support, training and mentorship that will be provided. Schedule regular meetings for follow up and to discuss performance,” he said. “Identify the consequences if the employee does not meet the objectives, including termination.”
Tim continues, “Don’t set unachievable expectations. Don’t make the PIP and the objectives subject to interpretation; include measurable objectives. Do not make it personal or identify anything other than professional responsibilities.”
Einhorn Barbarito’s Employment Law Blog