A Performance Improvement Plan is initiated by a Team Leader if one of their reports is not able to perform their role to achieve the Scorecard results or the Team dynamics that we expect.
The Performance Improvement Plan is just that. A plan that the Team Leader and the person in question need to work together to complete within the next 90 days, or sooner, to correct the situation. It is the responsibility of the Team Leader to be timely, candid about the situation, and willing to coach the person in question to independently achieve the outcome that is expected. The Team Leader must intervene with a Performance Improvement Plan well before the situation has become dysfunctional and emotional.
The Team Leader is there to coach, not do the work of the person in question, and conversely, they are not executing the Performance Improvement Plan because they have already decided that the person cannot perform their role, they are not setting them up to fail. They are clarifying very early in a relationship that the expectations are not being met, they must be for the person to continue to hold this role, and that both parties need to agreed to a plan to correct the situation as quickly as possible.
A Performance Improvement Plan must cover at a minimum four sections; Situation, Cause, Correction and Follow Up.
The Situation describes what the problem is in as few words, with no adjectives, or assumptions - in plain clear terms what is happening that is causing a mismatch in expectations. Not the reasons why, or theories as to why it is happening, or who is to blame, just the situation.
The Cause explains what the underlying reasons are for the Situation. The analysis to determine the Cause must continuously ask “why” until the root cause of what is happening is discovered. Once again, no adjectives or complex theories are needed. Simply what is causing the situation? What is being missed, what skill is not being applied, what exactly, at the very root of the problem, is causing the Situation to occur?
Having reviewed the Situation and the Cause the person in question may decide that the requirements for the role are not what they expected, or not something they want to achieve. The person can, at this point, and at any point along the Performance Improvement Plan decide that this position is not for them and they can resign with severance. It is the responsibility of the Team Leader to make sure that this option is presented and understood at the start of, and throughout, the Performance Improvement Process.
Having concluded that the report does not want to resign they work with their Team Leader to identify 3 or less corrections to eliminate the Cause of the Problem and achieve the Followup Measure of Success.
What Measures of Success must be achieved on a weekly basis, as reviewed and confirmed during the weekly One-On-One between the Team Leader and their report?
What final Measure of Success must be achieved, and by what date, typically 90 days from initiating the Plan?
If the person in question fails to achieve the Measure of Success for 3 consecutive weeks, or achievement is sporadic from 1 week to the next, then the Team Leader and the person being reviewed need to have a candid conversation about this role not being the best fit for the person.
If progress is not being made both parties need to consider an alternative role within the Company or work out a plan to help them on to another position with another Company. Do not drag out the Performance Improvement Plan if the improvement is clearly not being achieved. We are not doing anyone any favors by delaying a conclusion.
Once the Performance Improvement Plan is agreed to share it with the Team Leader’s Team Lead, their Boss, and have them review and agree to it. From that point on the Team Leader during Weekly One-On-Ones with their report will review the Measure Of Success for the week and determine if it was achieved or not, and if not, why not, and what corrections are being made to make sure it is achieved next week. The Team Leader journals the conclusions in the Followup section of the Performance Improvement Plan. There must be no confusion as to how things are progressing between the Team Leader and the person in question.
By the end of the Performance Improvement Plan a clear and definitive conclusion must be reached, or, the Performance Improvement Plan is restated and extended. The latter is not the desirable conclusion.