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When should I put someone on an informal PIP?


Q - At what point should I put someone who is under-performing on an informal PIP?

A - I don’t know any manager who wants to use the PIP process, but sometimes you need to go down that road.  Before you do, make sure you have done everything you can to give your team member the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability.  Provide feedback, with specific examples, of the issue/s that concern you.   Listen to their side of the situation, to make sure there isn’t a wider problem behind the scenes, or that the problem isn’t you!  Ask your employee to tell you how they plan to rectify the issue/s.  Agree and document clear goals for the short term.  Review them in the timescales you have set together.  If this doesn’t have the desired impact on performance, ask yourself if the individual understands the seriousness of the issue, and have one final discussion with them, before deciding whether to use the informal PIP process.  In my experience, this last point is the most common reason why people don’t correct their performance, because “it’s no big deal” to them.  This is where your communication has to be really clear.  I am still making a big assumption that you want to retain this individual, and if you do, make sure you use the informal PIP in a positive way.  Remember, it is never going to feel that positive to your employee, so give them any support they might need to deliver the performance you all want.