Performance Improvement Plan vs. Written Warning

An important aspect of running a successful business is addressing employee performance and behaviors that do not meet company standards. There are a few options when it comes to addressing employee performance, depending on the goals of the business.

One option would be to write a Performance Improvement Plan, or PIP, for the employees with performance deficiencies.  A PIP is most often considered for employees who are failing to meet deadlines or sales targets; however, it can be used in a number of other circumstances to help your employees succeed. By providing a structured approach for the employee to improve their job performance, the PIP begins by providing a clear explanation as to why their performance is not up to company standards in the first place.  Then, the PIP outlines a plan on how the employee could improve their performance and provides a specific timeframe (such as 60, 90, or 120 days) in which they are expected to meet these goals. Ultimately, the intended outcome of a PIP is to see improvement in the employee’s performance. The PIP can also highlight gaps in proper training or possible future actions such as demotion, job transfer, or even termination.  In order to have the greatest success, it is important for management to schedule regular meetings with the employee to evaluate their progress and keep them on track to reaching their performance goals.

In cases where disciplinary action may be necessary, a written warning may be better suited for an employee with performance issues.  A written warning is often used by an employer to place an employee on notice that their actions in the workplace are unacceptable.  It should also explain the potential consequences in the event the employee does not change their behavior. A written warning is a great way to outline exactly what the employee is doing wrong, what needs to change, and what will happen if the behavior continues. Written warnings serve more than one purpose as they can encourage employees to improve their performance in order to avoid future disciplinary action, while also providing documentation to support the employer’s decision in the event of future employee termination for poor performance.

Unsure of whether to use a PIP or a written warning to document an employee’s poor performance? Need help writing a PIP or written warning for one of your employees?  Contact the HR Department at UAP and let our team assist you!