Performance Improvement Plan Templates

admin24 March 2023Last Update :

5 Key Elements for an Effective Performance Improvement Plan Template

As a manager, ensuring that your employees perform at their best is essential for the success of your team and organization. However, there may be occasions when an employee’s performance falls short of expectations. During such times, a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) can serve as a valuable tool to help them get back on track and meet the required standards.

A PIP is a structured document that outlines areas where an employee needs improvement and the steps they should take to achieve those improvements. It provides a clear roadmap for both the employee and the manager, facilitating communication and setting expectations.

Creating an effective PIP can be a challenging task, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. To assist you in this process, here are five key elements that should be included in your PIP template:

1. Clear Goals and Objectives

The foundation of any PIP is setting clear and specific goals and objectives. Identify the precise areas where the employee’s performance needs improvement. These goals should meet the SMART criteria, meaning they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. SMART goals provide clarity and ensure that both the employee and the manager are on the same page regarding expectations.


  • Goal: Increase customer satisfaction scores by 15% within the next three months by improving response time to customer inquiries.

2. Action Plan

After establishing the goals, create a detailed action plan that outlines the steps the employee needs to take to achieve those goals. Specify the actions they should perform, along with timelines and deadlines for each task. Involving the employee in developing this action plan fosters a sense of ownership and commitment to the improvement process.


  • Action Plan:
    • Task 1: Attend customer service training workshop (Deadline: End of Month 1).
    • Task 2: Reduce response time to customer inquiries by 20% (Deadline: End of Month 2).
    • Task 3: Implement new response time tracking system (Deadline: End of Month 3).

3. Support and Resources

Identify the support and resources necessary for the employee to achieve their goals. This may include training, coaching, mentorship, or access to specific tools or information. Clearly communicate to the employee what support is available to them to ensure they have the necessary tools for success.


  • Support and Resources:
    • Enroll in customer service training course.
    • Regular coaching sessions with team lead.
    • Access to customer response tracking software.

4. Evaluation and Feedback

Continuous evaluation and feedback are crucial for the effectiveness of a PIP. Schedule regular check-ins with the employee to review their progress toward the defined goals. Provide constructive feedback that focuses on areas that need improvement. Positive feedback on achieved milestones can also boost motivation.


  • Evaluation and Feedback:
    • Bi-weekly progress meetings with team lead.
    • Positive reinforcement for reducing response time by 10% in the first month.
    • Feedback on areas that need further improvement, such as response time during peak hours.

5. Consequences

While the primary objective of a PIP is to help the employee improve, it is essential to outline the consequences if they fail to meet the required standards. Consequences may include disciplinary actions, performance reviews, or further interventions as deemed necessary. Communicate these consequences clearly so that the employee understands the gravity of the situation.


  • Consequences:
    • Failure to achieve the defined goals within the specified timeline may result in a performance review and further action.
    • Continued non-compliance may lead to more severe disciplinary measures.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs)

Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) are essential tools for managing and improving employee performance in the workplace. However, they often raise questions among both managers and employees. Here are some frequently asked questions about PIPs, along with detailed answers to provide clarity on this topic:

1. What is a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)?

Answer: A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is a formal document created by managers to help employees improve their performance when it falls below the expected standards. It outlines specific areas for improvement, sets clear goals, and defines action steps to achieve those goals.

2. When is it appropriate to implement a PIP?

Answer: A PIP is typically implemented when an employee’s performance consistently fails to meet established expectations or when an employee has received negative feedback during performance evaluations. It is designed to give the employee an opportunity to improve before more severe measures, such as termination, are considered.

3. What should be included in a PIP?

Answer: A comprehensive PIP should include the following key elements:

  • Clear and specific performance improvement goals.
  • A detailed action plan outlining steps to achieve the goals.
  • Support and resources provided to the employee.
  • Regular evaluation and feedback mechanisms.
  • Consequences for failure to meet the outlined goals.

4. How should a manager communicate a PIP to an employee?

Answer: A manager should schedule a private meeting with the employee to discuss the PIP. During this meeting, the manager should explain the purpose of the PIP, review its contents, and answer any questions the employee may have. Effective communication and clarity are crucial during this process.

5. Can an employee refuse to participate in a PIP?

Answer: Employees are generally expected to cooperate with a PIP as it is meant to help them improve their performance. Refusing to participate may be seen as insubordination and could lead to further disciplinary actions. However, employees have the right to seek clarification, express concerns, or provide input during the PIP process.

6. How long should a PIP last?

Answer: The duration of a PIP can vary depending on the nature of the performance issues and the goals set. PIPs typically last from 30 to 90 days. The timeline should be realistic, allowing the employee sufficient time to make meaningful improvements.

7. What happens if an employee successfully completes a PIP?

Answer: If an employee successfully meets the goals outlined in the PIP and demonstrates sustained improvement in their performance, they typically continue their employment without further consequences related to the PIP. It’s a positive outcome for both the employee and the organization.

8. What if an employee fails to meet the goals of a PIP?

Answer: If an employee fails to meet the goals outlined in the PIP, the consequences specified in the plan may be implemented. These consequences can vary but may include further performance reviews, additional training, or, in severe cases, termination of employment.

9. Are PIPs a punitive measure?

Answer: PIPs are not necessarily punitive; they are designed to be a constructive tool for employee development. While consequences for non-compliance are outlined, the primary goal of a PIP is to provide support and guidance for employees to improve their performance and meet the required standards.

10. Can an employee appeal a PIP?

Answer: Employees may have the right to appeal a PIP, depending on company policies and local labor laws. If an employee believes that the PIP is unjust or unfairly implemented, they should follow the company’s established procedures for raising concerns or appealing decisions.

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