Q: When is it appropriate to use a performance improvement plan as opposed to a disciplinary action notice or a record of employee conversation?
A: Performance improvement plans (PIPs) are best suited for performance issues, such as an employee not hitting their required sales goals or failing to complete projects on time. PIPs are put in place for a predetermined period (often 90—120 days) and involve regular meetings to evaluate the employee’s progress. At the end of the period, if the performance hasn’t improved, you can decide whether to terminate the employee.
In contrast, a record of employee conversation and a disciplinary action notice are used when there is a policy the employee has violated, such as an employee not following your normal call-in procedure to report an absence. The record of employee conversation is used to document an oral warning (so you keep a copy but don't give one to the employee) and is usually reserved for the first offense. The disciplinary action notice is a written warning, usually for either a serious offense or a repeated offense. The employee receives a copy of the disciplinary action notice.
Great performance management can mean the difference between highly engaged employees and those who are just punching the clock. Watch our free webinar where we discuss the differences between coaching and progressive discipline, with a special focus on ways to encourage employee development and growth.