If an employee shows a measurable insufficiency in performance, that individual should have a performance improvement plan, which can be administered and recorded through a dedicated smart workforce management system. You’ll want to track performance objectively and efficiently.

A performance improvement plan can help if an employee isn’t meeting productivity goals, is tardy, misses deadlines, or isn’t displaying a quality track record.

Plan Specifics, Details, and Smart Workforce Management

Through smart workforce management, an employee with performance problems can usually succeed with the right performance improvement plan in place — also called an action plan. You can use it if you’re having trouble meeting specific goals or if you’re noticing behavioral issues.

This type of plan could result in improved overall performance, recognition of a skills gap, or possible employment actions such as a transfer, demotion, or termination. With an employee work management software in place, human resource leaders can:

  • Make sure a performance improvement plan is the right thing to do.
  • Prevent bias by objectively and equally implementing performance improvement plans.
  • Provide the right guidance for both managers and employees.

Smart Workforce Management Means Creating the Right Plan

Depending on your company and the employee — as well as what type of smart workforce management software solution you have in place — each performance improvement plan will be different. This makes it difficult to design one. It’s good to have enough room to tailor the plan to the employee’s needs while following any policies already set by human resources.

You should first meet with the employee about the performance issue and give feedback about what the employee needs to do to improve. Believe it or not, many leaders who use a workforce management tool and a dialogue session to assess the state of the employee find they don’t need a performance improvement plan if this initial feedback session solves the issue. Sometimes, all that’s needed is more integration of teamwork and technology.

However, in case a plan is necessary, this type of meeting can help provide key information. Make sure you stay aware of any personal issues the employee might be dealing with. Is the employee comfortable with the resources you have to help? Is it clear what the employee is supposed to do? Does the employee really want this job? These are all great questions to ask and simultaneously track within your employee work management software platform.

Maximizing Your Plan’s Success Using Smart Workforce Management

If you’re planning to improve an employee’s performance, consider the following:

  • Establish a mission and vision for the employee. You’ll want to give the employee steps to improve once success is defined. Imagine an employee who’s struggling with production volume. The employee might have weekly goals during your one, two or three-month plan until that worker reaches the required quota. You can present your ideal goal as a measurable milestone and decide how each goal can be measured objectively.
  • What does success mean to you and the employee? Defining this problem clearly is the first step in designing a performance improvement plan. Imagine what it would be like for the employee to succeed. Be as clear as possible about any metrics the employee needs. As an example of the performance issue, document all instances where the employee didn’t meet these expectations using a smart workforce management
  • Organize feedback discussions. Supervisors should also have meetings to give feedback about the employee’s progress. To start, you’ll need to decide how often the employee needs to receive feedback. Look for any key deadlines that can be met with progress reports and supportive discussions. You can reinforce new habits by scheduling these meetings ahead of time through a workforce management too and provide deadlines for improvement.
  • Let the employee know what resources you have. Your goal in a performance improvement plan is to help the employee succeed in the job role. Provide the employee the resources needed and help them use those resources. Support should be available from other team members and supervisors as well, including software, handbooks, and document libraries.
  • Describe the ramifications. A company’s accountability starts with implementing repercussions. Consequences should be clearly stated in a performance improvement plan if the employee doesn’t improve. Clearly document what determines success versus failure.
  • Reviews, reviews, reviews. Human resources should review any plan once it’s done to make sure the goals are attainable. Make sure the employee has a reasonable time limit to meet these goals. The final stamp of approval should come from a human resources professional.

Putting Employees on a Performance Improvement Plan

It’s not a good idea to start with a performance improvement plan. The sooner you address a problem, the less likely it is to grow to a point where you need a performance improvement plan. Smart workforce management solutions can help you strategize how you will act as a human resources leader or a department manager before you move forward, keeping recorded documentation and aiding in next-steps preparation and planning.

It’s also a good opportunity to check your employee work management software and assess whether it’s performing accurately and seamlessly. At this stage, you can also see if anyone needs help from the employee side of things. A supportive dialogue can sometimes help an employee open up about work struggles, such as time management or areas where more training and development are needed.

Try to figure out the root cause of the employee’s poor performance before you start drafting a plan. A performance improvement plan might not be appropriate or helpful for someone who is currently struggling with health or family issues. Here are some additional tips:

  • Utilizing smart workforce management, try working with the employee toward a solution if the employee feels comfortable sharing. Getting both human resources and the employee’s respective department collaboratively involved can also be helpful for employment and family accommodations that fall under federal employment law.
  • Remember that performance improvement plans aren’t a good idea when the root cause of the performance drop is employee disengagement.
  • You should create an employee performance improvement plan if an employee continues to underperform after warnings and coaching.

What Comes After the Performance Improvement Plan?

Check in at the end of the performance improvement plan to see if the employee improved enough. A smart workforce management system can be of great help in this endeavor.

When an employee meets the plan’s goals, the performance improvement plan has served its purpose and should be ended. Probation shouldn’t be given to employees who finish their improvement plan. You should ask the employee for feedback at the end of the process so you will be able to improve the experience in the future for others.

There will be some employees who can’t make enough progress to reach their outlined performance goals in time. When a performance improvement plan fails, managers have a few options besides termination. Start by looking at exactly what the employee did or did not do. A deadline extension may be helpful for employees who made good progress but didn’t reach the final milestone or metrics. The goals and timeframe of the initial performance improvement plan can be adjusted by managers and employees — all easily through smart workforce management.

Remember that a performance improvement plan is usually the last step before terminating an employee. It’s always good to reassess your departments’ managerial leadership styles at the same time.

Nonetheless, if used and administered appropriately and ethically, and if carefully documented, this type of plan can be used by nearly any company if needed to defend itself in a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by an employee. However, don’t use a performance improvement plan to fire someone. An employee’s performance improvement plan should show “how important” the employee is to the company through objective evidence, conversations, and documentation.

VCS Software

VCS Software is your all-in-one solutions platform for smart workforce management software whether your business, organization, company, or public agency is large, medium, or small. Our solutions fit your exact needs since organizations and human resource departments can start with core products and use add-on modules for additional capabilities. Contact us to start building a tailored, optimized plan that best suits your needs.

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