30+ Free Performance Improvement Plan Templates (Word, Excel, PDF)

printable performance improvement plan template

A (PIP) performance improvement plan template is used when it seems that an employee is not performing to a satisfactory standard. This plan works as a tool that provides an employee with the opportunity to succeed. It can help the employees to improve their performance and behavior. PIP may lead to several outcomes. These outcomes include such as termination, demotion, or performance, or improvement in overall performance. On the other hand, PIP is also used to communicate performance expectations to the employees who are newly hired.

What is the purpose of a PIP’s plan?

The main purpose of a performance improvement plan is to reduce the risk inherent in any termination. This plan keeps up those employees whose performance has slipped, become contrary, or otherwise requires improvement.

Another purpose of this plan is that when you terminating an employee it describes the legitimate business reasons for termination. Moreover, if you are terminating an employee for poor performance then it should also contain past warnings for poor performance, descriptions of the results for the employee if he didn’t improve, and acts as proof that the employee failed to do so.

In addition, PIP also has the following purposes;

  • To specify your expectations for performance.
  • To develop your definition of success.
  • For setting regular meetings with the employee to discuss their progress.
  • To describe the results for failing to meet.

Sketching a Performance Improvement Plan:

Following are the steps include while sketching a performance improvement plan template;

  1. The first and foremost step in sketching a PIP is identifying a problem. You have to determine whether the problem is in performance or in behavior. If there is more than one problem list them separately. Events and facts that are the reasons for the problem must be included in a PIP.
  2. To improve performance determines specific and measurable steps. Explain the steps in detail and make sure that the employee has clearly understood them. Moreover, also make sure that all the steps are reasonable and easily achievable.
  3. It is important to assign a realistic time period for completing the required performance or behavior change. The given time period may be relying on between one and six months. However, you can enhance the time period in extreme cases.
  4. Then, identify the resources and support available to help your employee. For example, usual responsibilities, funds for training activities, arranging seminars, materials, etc. Furthermore, ask your employee to identify the resources that can be helpful for him.
  5. Moreover, state to your employee about the consequences of not meeting expectations. Don’t focus too much on negative consequences because this can de-motivate or discourage him. Therefore, tell him that you are implementing the plan only because you are sincerely interested in his success.
  6. And update the plan before every PIP review meeting. Then, provide the updated document to the employee prior to each meeting.

Contents of a (PIP) Performance Improvement Plan Template:

Let’s take a look at the things that have to include in the performance improvement plan template;

  • Employees name and position, manager’s name and position, and their work area.
  • Problem areas of employees that have to be include.
  • Observations, previous meetings, and counseling.
  • Sections that are needed to improve.
  • Resources
  • How the manager supports employee improvement activities.
  • Expectations
  • Time period
  • Consequences
  • Signatures and the date when the PIP is signed on.

How can I improve the effectiveness of a PIP’s plan?

  • At first, listen to your employees carefully and also give them a chance to respond to any of your points.
  • Pay attention to the positive aspects of the employee’s relationship with the organization or company.
  • Provide your employees with a clear path. The employees should understand their goals and know the actions that they will do to meet the expectations of performance and behavior.
  • An employer should review the employee’s progress on a daily basis and appreciate them to keep motivated.

Implementing a performance improvement plan:

For most managers, there are a few things more challenging compared to addressing poor performance. Without a plan of action, performance will not improve. HR plays a significant role in supporting both employees and managers.

It is an individualized plan that determines the areas for improvement as well as acknowledges areas where the employee is performing well. This document can prove very valuable in the following scenarios;

  • If an employee does not understand their job clearly
  • If they don’t know what is expected of them
  • In case, they might be adding more value with the right support

How to write a PIP plan?

There are 5 steps to write a performance improvement plan. Let us discuss them step-by-step;

  1. Firstly, identify the acceptable performance. You have to describe what would be the acceptable performance and compare it to what your employee currently doing. Explain where exactly the employee is falling short by involving examples of behavior and performance.
  2. Secondly, make measurable objectives. With the help of a smart framework define the objectives your employees require to meet. Identify how you will measure success.
  3. Thirdly, elaborate on what support the employee will get. The manager should explain to the employee how he will help him for reaching the PIP goal. For this purpose, the resources you will use are training, coaching, etc.
  4. Next, draft a schedule for check-ins. Define how frequently you will meet with the employee to provide feedback. Make a timetable for check-ins.
  5. The last step is to explain the results of the lack of improvement. For the employee to make it clears what are the consequences if he fails to meet the improvement goal.

When shouldn’t you use a performance improvement plan?

You shouldn’t use a performance improvement plan in the following situations;

  • Don’t use it as a tick-box exercise. A lot of effort and dedication is required to make and implement a performance improvement plan. You should only use it when you assure that an employee’s performance will improve.
  • You shouldn’t use a performance improvement plan to solve personal issues between employees and managers. Managers and employees have to respect each other. Move the employee to another team or role in case there is a personality misalignment.
  • Never use PIP to address matters that are left unattended for lengths of time. Some employees become part of an organization as mediocre performers. This decreases under-performance steadily. You can turn this situation if you address it quickly. In case, it is left unattended for years then the chances of sudden success decrease.
  • Don’t use PIP in serious incidents like theft, violence, or gross insubordination.

What are the advantages of a performance improvement plan?

There are various benefits of a PIP plan;

  1. PIP encourages a sense of accountability. Employees should know that they must meet expectations and disciplinary action.
  2. Every employee knows what is expecting from him.
  3. When an employee knows that the employer will help him to reach his long-term career goals then he feels valued in the company.
  4. PIP plan gives employees a complete overview of where they are failing and what they need to do to improve.
  5. It generates a better trained and more talented workforce.

What are the disadvantages of using a performance improvement plan?

Let us discuss below some disadvantages of this plan;

  • A lot of effort and dedication is required to make and implement a performance improvement plan. Each plan is designed individually along with specific outcomes and objectives.
  • The long-term productivity gains of correcting performance and determining and aligning the gaps can distract from the regular workflow.
  • It is the responsibility of HR to lay down clear expectations around what a PIP is and what it can achieve. Also, they have to support managers with the right tools. In case, managers do not follow through or support the employee who is under performance review then the performance improvement plan can’t get successful.
  • Putting an employee on a performance improvement plan will indicate it as the first step toward termination. This makes the employees feel in an antagonistic situation which results in resignation.


Hence, we conclude that PIP is a great way to find performance and behavior problems of employees and to resolve these problems. However, PIP can work only if you follow the right steps while sketching it. Also, you have to select an appropriate (PIP) performance improvement plan template.

It helps you in monitoring and measuring the deficient work performances or behaviors of a certain employee. PIP will make you able to set goals, chart the progress of your employee, take review sessions, and observe the success.

Faqs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a performance improvement plan (PIP) process?

In a performance improvement plan process, management and HR take actions to improve an employee’s performance. This process involves those employees who are not meeting the minimum performance criteria for their jobs.

What is the ideal length of time for PIP?

12 weeks is the ideal length of time for a performance improvement plan. This way, the employees have enough time to correct behaviors and get trained. However, you can end the PIP earlier if the employee achieves their goals quicker.

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