Employee Performance Improvement

Employee Performance Improvement

Tackling poor performance is never an easy thing, but ignoring it and hoping it will improve will not solve an already difficult situation. In fact, it is more likely to make it worse. Managing performance is like sailing a boat, if you make small changes to the course you are likely to remain on course. If you wait and make a sizable change you are likely to struggle and hit the rocks!

Working with your employees to improve their performance can be a positive experience. You are investing time and resources to help them reach the required standard. Helping them to understand what is needed and developing a plan to help them achieve it can turn an underperforming employee into your star performer, if handled in the right way.

Top tips

Our top tips for helping make performance management a positive experience: –

– There needs to be an open discussion before any plan is in place. Presenting the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) as a positive experience and an opportunity for personal growth may help to encourage your employee to input. Asking your employee about their behaviours and allowing them to draw conclusions may help them understand the need for more defined direction.

– Understanding the root cause(s) of the poor performance is the key to finding the solutions. There may be numerous reasons for lack of productivity: limited knowledge; training; issues outside of work; team dynamics, or lack of motivation. Each cause will need to be tackled in a different way and considered as part of the PIP.

– Targets must be achievable and measurable. Creating a plan with impossible targets is an unfair way to treat people. This process is about supporting people to improve, not forcing them out of the door. Targets can be short and long term allowing quick wins and longer projects. When instigating a PIP it is important to ensure an end date is given. Without one the employee will be in ongoing workplace purgatory.

– Check in regularly to ensure you both stay on track. Offer reviews to allow you to discuss successes and failings, and be prepared to change tasks or end dates if needed.

– Celebrate success and cheer on the improvements that have been made! This can be the start of a new chapter and the makings of a fantastic employee.


Sue Willmott - Owner, Sue Willmott HR & Careers ConsultancySue Willmott
– Owner & HR and Careers Consultant for Sue Willmott HR & Careers Consultancy.

I am an Associate Member of the CIPD. I hold an MA in Human Resource Management and an ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring. We are Matrix Accredited and a member of the Careers Development Institute.

You can contact me here:

   Email symbol