There comes a time in every organization where your teammate is underperforming, is struggling to add value to the business, or is just flat out not doing their job. It can be incredibly frustrating for a management team to watch this happen and oftentimes it’s difficult to know where to begin with a team member like this.
Performance plans are a task to help get that team member back on track to adding value to the organization. They’re an opportunity for the teammate to improve in a structured way and recognize that if they fail to perform well enough, they run the risk of being dismissed from their position. The members of your team are the most important investment you could ever make, so a performance plan is just another way to protect that investment.
Once you notice that the member of your team is for whatever reason no longer performing as well as they should be, make sure that all issues are documented in writing with the date and description of what was wrong. Human resources compliance is huge when it comes to performance plans because you don’t want to end up with a wrongful termination case on your hands and no evidence to back up your reason for terminating the employee. By documenting and creating and executing a performance plan, you are doing everything that you can do and you are doing it the right way and avoiding a potential legal case.
This process should be incredibly transparent and collaborative with the employee. That being said, the first step before creating a performance plan is to sit down and have a candid conversation with the member of your team. Is there something going on that you don’t know about? Is the team member not getting the support they need to succeed?
This is your opportunity to investigate what is going wrong and preventing them from being successful, so it’s important to be completely honest. In this meeting, set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART) goals for them to achieve within a certain time frame, and make sure they understand that if they fail to complete these goals, a performance plan will be created as a last effort to keep them a part of the organization.
If they failed to achieve the SMART goals that were set in place, now is the time to jump into creating a performance plan document. It’s important that there is no sugar-coating in this document and that you show the member of your team that you want them to be successful, but if they can’t then it’s time to let them go.
A performance plan is typically about 30 days in length, so you need to set short-term goals within this time frame. It’s during these 30 days that you want to do everything you can to keep the member of your team and help them get to where they need to be in order to be successful at your organization.
You’ll want to sit down and have a meeting with the team member at the end of each week within the 30 days to discuss that past week and provide feedback on what they’re doing right or wrong. This is your opportunity to discuss that week’s goals, as well as what will be expected of them during the following week.
If at the end of the 30 days they still aren’t performing up to standard, then it’s time to let them go. But you will have done everything you can to keep them and help them be successful. If at the end of the 30 days they’ve thrived and have shown you outstanding performance, then you will have done everything you could to protect your investment and it will have paid off!
Download our FREE performance plan template!