Are you one of those managers who struggle with the daily hustle of dealing with their employees? Do you find that your team’s performance is less than optimal? If so, then you may want to consider implementing some performance improvement procedures.
Doing so enables you to identify areas in which your team members need to improve and provide them with the tools and resources required to make the necessary changes. Keep reading to learn more about how to plan performance improvement procedures in your team.
What exactly is performance improvement?
Performance management is a powerful strategy that facilitates the development of employees in terms of their output at work and individual characteristics or achievements.
Employee performance improvement is a part of this overall strategy that allows each of your team members to reach the pinnacle of their potential in both professional and personal aspects.
If an employee is not meeting the expectations of the organization they work for or is falling well short of their theoretical performance limit, their manager may implement individual or operational human performance improvement procedures (PIPs) to help them reach company standards in terms of output and conduct.
Organizational PIPs might also or otherwise be put in place to encourage growth of a team, department or company wide.
Performance improvement differs from participation in quality improvement in the sense that the former is focused on tackling shortcomings in employee’s personal capabilities to perform their duties, whereas the latter is the process of addressing systems and processes within a business to achieve operational excellence.
That means wider-reaching strategies to improve conditions in the company and the working environment by boosting motivation levels (e.g., with skill-based pay), offering actionable feedback on how to improve performance through appraisal, investing in training, providing adequate employee support, and setting out clear expectations, etc.
The benefits of performance improvement
Identifying areas that team members could be better in is an essential step for employees to grow on a personal level. That’s where PIPs come in, enabling teams to determine where they are succeeding and what requires further effort.
Recognizing the difficulties that employees may be facing allows the business to develop tailored solutions and special items that will enhance performance far more effectively than generalized efforts alone.
Some of the benefits of performance improvement include:
- improved organizational behavior
- greater job satisfaction
- higher engagement rates
- increased process efficiency and productivity
- enhanced innovation and creativity
- reduced employee turnover
- more positive and effective team dynamics
- better quality of work
- reduced burden on human resources (i.e., less need for training, onboarding, and the application process
- fewer mistakes and thus less resources wasted in terms of time and money
When to plan performance improvement
Instead of simply discipling or even firing employees who don’t meet the company’s standards, a more advanced business process that will have greater success in many cases is to plan performance improvement procedures to facilitate their growth.
Strong business performance management should have guidelines in place to deal with such situations as employees repeatedly failing to achieve the targets set for them, meet deadlines, function properly as part of a remote team (i.e., poor interpersonal skills), or produce an acceptable quality of work.
The results of implementing the plan may be dramatic improvements in employees’ individual performance, greater job satisfaction for them, and better results for the company (e.g. improved customer experience), rather than wasted performance potential of people and lost investment on the recruitment process.
That being said, there are situations when performance improvement procedures won’t be suitable to address certain low standards, characteristics, performance attributes, issues, or poor behaviors. For instance, if an employee has poor punctuality and repeatedly turns up for work late.
In such cases, the preferable modus operandi would be to deal with the situation as and when it occurs, without waiting to mention it during a formal performance review. Doing so will hopefully solve the problem as soon as possible, as well as reminding fellow team members about the company’s expectations in such regards.
How to plan performance improvement procedures in your team
The implementation of performance improvement procedures should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, as every employee is unique and requires an individual approach. However, the core steps of the process remain more or less the same.
Define what “performance” means for your team
Performance is not always easy to define, and it can refer to different things to different people.
In order to provide a basis from which to establish performance improvement procedures, it’s crucial for your team to have a shared understanding of what the term actually means for the business, how it will be measured, and how the calculation for performance follows on from that.
Only this way will employees fully understand the expectations that their performance should meet and be able to work towards organisational goals and objectives in structured programs.
Identify areas of improvement
Performance gaps are inevitable in any team, but it is essential to determine where exactly the current limitations are in order to recognize potential opportunities for growth. It’s vital here to be as specific and transparent as possible, and to collaborate with the employee(s) who will benefit from this process.
Doing so allows all parties to plan individual performance improvement intervention procedures that are tailored to the individual person, taking into account their strengths and weaknesses, values, preferences, and motivations.
Consider how to address shortcomings
Thoroughly analyzing weaknesses and dedicating time to explore new and alternative performance improvement activities enables the quick identification of the most effective ways forward with any performance issue at hand.
Giving thought to different options and their respective merits contributes to determining the best course of action and allows the effective utilization of all available resources in completing any task efficiently.
Consultation between management and team members is therefore a crucial step that ought to be taken whenever attempting to identify and address areas of improvement, or when searching for innovative ideas regarding any kind of project for that matter.
Establish objectives for the plan
Certified performance improvement procedures require clear organisational goals and methodologies if they are to successfully drive growth. Before implementing any plan of action, all participants should be aware of the ultimate objectives and the precise milestones they are expected to achieve.
Thoughtfully evaluating current performance and setting measurable goals enables organizations to motivate employees and create a defined pathway to improvement. Providing continual feedback on these goals assists with achieving each one in an efficient and effective manner.
Outline specific steps and deadlines
Once the objectives are set, performance improvement plans must provide an actionable road map to tracking progress towards ultimate success. It’s useful to break down each of the primary goals into smaller, achievable steps that can be completed by certain deadlines.
This will get all team members on the same page and eliminate any confusion regarding the plan of action. Setting specific deadlines keeps everyone on track to achieving their personal goals in a timely manner and makes progressing towards the desired outcome easier and more manageable.
Inform employees of the consequences of failing to meet goals
In advance of implementing performance improvement procedures, it’s essential to inform employees of the ramifications of them not achieving the objectives that have been set for them.
An open conversation with the employee concerned about expectations is key to encouraging their growth rather than surprising them with punitive measures if they don’t meet the goals.
The employee(s) in question do, however, need to fully understand the repercussions of poor performance whilst giving them support and confidence to improve.
This ultimately establishes a sense of accountability, gets them to understand why performance improvement is critical to the organization, and how their success or failure affects the team as a whole.
Implement the procedures and track progress over time
Continually monitoring progress and evaluating the results in a performance platform enables managers to determine whether the plan is working or not and make changes where necessary.
It’s best to take a collaborative approach, allowing employees to provide feedback on how they are responding to the plan and what could be done differently.
To increase performance efficiency, it’s beneficial to create specific milestones and track tangible results over an agreed-upon timeline to provide visibility into how work is progressing and if anything needs to be adjusted.
Collecting data regularly also provides an opportunity to celebrate small victories (e.g., an improvement in skill) and day-to-day items along the way while staying focused on achieving the ultimate aims.
Measure the results of the performance improvement solution
Follow up and review progress regularly to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan.
Remember to focus on both qualitative and quantitative (e.g., the viewpoint of customers from customer satisfaction surveys) results when measuring performance, looking at both employee engagement and other performance indicators such as customer satisfaction or increased productivity.
The results of your PIPs should be achieved according to an agreed upon schedule (e.g., seeing performance improvement quarterly), and any deviations should be addressed and discussed as soon as possible.
After this time frame has passed, however, the employee should still have motivation for continuous improvement and be monitored for any additional areas of development.
Make adjustments to the plan as needed
Setting goals is an important first step in any endeavor, but it’s not the only one. Getting your plans off the ground and executing them is just as critical. Even when everything looks good on paper, actually carrying out your plan may reveal unexpected stumbling blocks that can’t be anticipated without trying.
Although it may sound counter-intuitive, it’s wise to expect a certain amount of trial and error when you plan performance improvement procedures.
If the results are not what you expected, tweak your business process improvement strategies in light of the reality of achievement and you will increase the likelihood of more successful outcomes moving forward.
By definition, “performance” means how well something is done. In order to create a team that is capable of achieving its objectives, each member’s level of performance must meet or exceed that which is expected by the company. If that condition is not being satisfied, it is necessary to plan performance improvement procedures.
The results of this plan will ideally be that all employees are held to the same standards and a framework is provided for setting goals, monitoring progress, and making adjustments as needed. With this approach to resource planning, team performance can improve and be sustained over time.
Managers can increase the chances of their performance improvement procedures having the desired effects by creating a culture of open communication, providing support and accountability, and establishing a plan that is realistic and achievable.
This process ultimately allows employees to grow and learn in their roles so that goals are effectively being met.
When implemented properly, performance improvement plans help teams become more successful and any business to experience sustainable performance improvement over the long-term.
This blog post has provided a guide to the key elements of effective performance improvement plan execution so that your organization can do exactly that. However, it’s just one piece of huge puzzle which is HR management. Read on more on our blog or check how Sloneek can help you boost performance and satisfaction within your company!