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A Guide to Performance Improvement Plans

This is a condensed presentation I gave internally regarding our Performance Improvement Process with Happiness Engineers (Customer Support Professionals). It covers what Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is for, not for, the steps involved, and my tips for running a successful plan with your team member. These plans are not a punishment, and are intended to help a team member succeed long term. By understanding the process fully you are better prepared to help yourself and your team member throughout the process.

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A Guide to Performance Improvement Plans

  1. 1. A Guide to Performance Improvement Plans Kristen Zuck @kristenzuck 2019 Happiness Leads Meetup
  2. 2. What is a Performance Improvement Plan?
  3. 3. What is it NOT? ● A punishment ● Appropriate for every situation ● A required step before discussing leaving Automattic ● A tool to fire someone
  4. 4. What is it for? ● Performance or skill related issues ● Helping someone perform at a Good Performance level long term
  5. 5. How can we avoid Performance Improvement Plans? ● Sometimes you can’t ● Regular check ins, strong feedback, clear goals ● Be up front with them about the possibility
  6. 6. Example: “These goals are to help you to succeed in this role long term. If you’re unable to meet them, it is possible we’ll need to consider a performance improvement plan in the near future. I’m here to help and support you however I can to help avoid having that conversation.”
  7. 7. How can we avoid Performance Improvement Plans? ● Be encouraging ● Ask how you can support them or if they are worried ● Ask them to keep notes throughout their day and share them with you ● Don’t soften
  8. 8. What are the steps involved?
  9. 9. Step One - You’ve got a problem ● Identify ● Clarify ● Document ● Follow Up
  10. 10. Step Two - Formal Goal Setting ● You’ve the same shared feedback 2-3 times ● Let your LOL and HR rep know (if you haven’t already) ● Set two week incremental milestones ● Focus on observable and measurable behaviors ● Send text recaps
  11. 11. Step Three - Is it time for a improvement plan? ● Share your documentation ● Chat with your HR/LOL about the situation/expectations ● Reflect - “Can this person be successful on a performance improvement plan?”
  12. 12. Step Four - Creating the plan ● Should cover 4 to 6 weeks if you opt to move to this step ● Use strong, clear language ● Outline the behavior you want the plan to achieve ● Reflect - “What do you want and need them to do?”
  13. 13. Step Five - A Call with HR ● Purpose of the call ● The Performance Improvement Plan Process ● Share the goals ● Allow questions ● Asking them if they are open to doing the plan
  14. 14. Step Six - The Actual Plan ● Weekly 1:1s team member and HR ● HR writes weekly recaps ● 1-2 weeks to adjust ● Monitor their progress closely ● Provide strong feedback in the weekly calls
  15. 15. Step Six - Wrap it up ● Plans don’t have to last six weeks if they aren’t going well ● If they do make it through, great! ● Final call with expectations moving forward ● Continue monitoring closely
  16. 16. What will help you feel supported during this process?
  17. 17. Takeaways ● Communicate clearly and early! ● Always document ● Keep HR and your LOL in the loop early ● Don’t put someone on a plan you don’t think they can succeed on ● Use strong, clear language in the plan (think “Will” not “Should”)
  18. 18. Questions?
  19. 19. Thanks Kristen Zuck @kristenzuck