30-Day Performance Improvement Plan: How to Turn Things Around in Your Office in Just One Month

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By Jacob Maslow

An employee performance improvement plan (PIP) targets improved performance of employees by retrieving feedback and applying actionable steps. The step-by-step process gets presented in a formal PIP document with clear guidelines. You can turn things around in your office with a 30-day performance improvement plan focusing on employee development.

What is a Performance Improvement Plan?

A PIP clarifies company expectations, promotes constructive criticism, and enables employee development. With this formal document, a company can refer to a specific employee or everyone, presenting a specific timeline for improvement.

The PIP addresses regular performance or behavioral issues and how to attain goals in a specified time, usually between one and three months.

Benefits of Using an Employee Performance Improvement Plan

PIPs provide several benefits for staff and your company because they can help employees meet goals and help curb work ethic issues. Some people think that it’s a warning for an impending dismissal, but that’s not always the case – a PIP can provide all-round benefits:

1.     Enhances employee morale

The role of the PIP is to show employees that you want to support them instead of penalizing them as they improve their performance or behavior. It gives them the power to make the expected changes and shows that you understand their current challenges. Provide actionable objectives and ensure you prove you will stand by them as they adjust, allowing the PIP to boost employee morale.

2.     Curtails staff turnover

Staff turnover can prove costly for any company because it means constant hiring and training. It also takes time for new employees to reach their optimal output. Therefore, a PIP can help to keep your staff turnover to a minimum while you tap into the strengths of your existing staff by assisting them to overcome issues that are holding them back.

3.     Boosts accountability and productivity

The more accountability your employees feel toward their work, the better their productivity. Honest feedback and guidance can help underperforming employees that don’t take their responsibilities seriously. With a PIP, you can clarify expected results, point to gaps, and provide the motivation required for employees to perform accordingly.

When is an Employee Performance Improvement Plan Needed?

The time has come to implement an employee performance improvement plan when you notice that an employee is struggling or there’s a general lack of employee engagement or productivity in your office.

30-Day Performance Improvement Plan

If you have identified problems in your office, you can turn things in 30 days with an employee performance improvement plan. Here’s how:

1.     Set Clear Objectives

The clearer your goals, the easier it is for employees to follow them. If you provide a whole clutter of objectives, everyone will spend more time asking questions to clarify their confusion than concentrating on your goals. On the other hand, precise targets make it easier for your employees to complete them.

2.     Provide a Timeline

Structure remains essential in any PIP. Therefore, use a timeline that defines your expectations. Let your employees know your given time frame for their performance improvements. Define dates for when formal meetings and regular check-ins will take place so that you can track their performance.

3.     It all Begins with Communication

Collaborative processes make for better improvements. Whether you’re a manager or owner, you need to discuss the current difficulties with your employees, getting their feedback on how they plan to help achieve your expected goals. Communication becomes essential to ensuring that your employees understand your expectations. They should also feel free to contact you anytime to discuss any concerns.

4.     Check-in Regularly

Regular check-ins are closely related to communication. They allow you to ensure employees maintain the set direction and structure and where they can air concerns. In addition, the process provides steps to iron out any misunderstandings. Finally, it shows that you are there to handle issues reasonably, especially if your employees raise any formal grievances.

5.     Define Underlying Causes

Negative performance trends in an employee may have a root cause you aren’t aware of. A compassionate discussion with an employee makes it easier for them to reveal their problem, allowing you to have an honest and respectful discussion on how to best deal with the issue. Remember that besides personal issues like an employee going through a bereavement or complex divorce, the employee could also have professional issues, like feeling unchallenged at work. Approach all the problems with the sensitivity required by encouraging the employee to discuss how you can help them overcome the issue.

6.     Convey Positivity

Your employees may need to improve some aspects of their work performance, but that doesn’t mean they lack any positive aspects. Convey their value to your company and emphasize all their positive attributes, helping them understand that not all is bad.

7.     Provide Support and Training

An effective PIP focuses on providing support and extra training if required. Often, poor performance goes hand-in-hand with a lack of training when onboarding employees or the more significant workload when they receive a promotion. Help employees develop their job-specific skills and coping mechanisms if you want to see improved effectiveness through mentoring, training, and development programs. You must define the required training in the document and ensure it takes place if you want to develop employee skills properly.

8.     Outline consequences clearly

Now that we have looked at all the positive elements of implementing a PIP, they need to understand the consequences of not meeting the required improvements. The results must be pre-defined at the beginning of the process, making them clear and transparent. Employees must acknowledge the PIP, showing they understand its reasons and their commitment to making it work. Otherwise, they will face the consequences, which could lead to termination.

9.    Evaluate the Progress

When you complete the PIP document, you must set up a system for tracking and evaluating your employee’s performance. Review their results against goals, providing feedback on their progress regularly. If they surpass expectations, praise them with rewards or incentives that will encourage them to continue improving since it motivates employees much more than negative criticism. This approach goes a long way in maintaining morale at work.

10.   Monitor the Results

Monitoring should be ongoing throughout the implementation process of the PIP document and beyond its completion if required. Consider all changes, like any new hardware that may have been installed or software updates. Monitor closely to determine if the employee is meeting their goals and achieving the required performance levels, or you will need to modify your PIP document further.

11.   Follow Up with Your Employee

Once a PIP is established and implemented, follow up with your employee regularly to see how they are progressing toward meeting their goals. Support them by providing guidance and advice as needed. Ensure they understand that completing the PIP successfully requires you to work together collaboratively for the best results.

Tips for Writing an Effective Performance Improvement Plan

An effective PIP must be clear and concise. Make sure to define the goals you want from it, explaining them in detail so your employees can understand exactly what is expected of them. Next, establish a timeline that defines realistic expectations and provides frequent check-ins. Communication is the key to successful performance improvement plans, encouraging collaborative processes while remaining open to new ideas or strategies. You should also outline any underlying causes of poor performance and provide support or training if needed. Finally, remind your employees of their positive attributes and clearly state the consequences if they fail to meet expectations. By following these tips, you can create a comprehensive plan that boosts performance and shows your commitment to developing long-term employee satisfaction.

Final Take

If you need to change some issues in your office, a performance improvement plan provides you with the perfect opportunity to address them. Even though most PIPs last longer than a month, it is possible to address more minor issues in a shorter time, depending on the variables. Following these guidelines provides the best way to implement a successful 30-day performance improvement plan. However, it is essential to remain vigilant during this time and in the coming months to ensure employees stay on track.


How do I find the root cause of an employee’s poor performance?

The best way to identify the root cause of an employee’s poor performance is by having open and honest conversations with them. Ask questions to understand their struggles better, and be willing to listen attentively as they share their issues. Additionally, consider speaking to their colleagues or managers to gain further insights.

How can I ensure employees stay on track?

The best way to make sure employees stay on track is by having regular check-ins and ongoing communication with them. Ensure they understand what improvements are expected of them, and provide the necessary support and training if required. You should also clearly outline the consequences of not meeting these expectations from the beginning of the process. Finally, always be supportive and encourage them for any successes or progress achieved along the way.

How often should performance improvement plans be implemented?

Performance improvement plans can be implemented as often or as infrequently as you see fit, depending on the situation of your business or employees. If a problem appears minor or short-term, a PIP may last only 30 days. However, if the issue is more substantial or long-term, the plan may be implemented over a more extended period. It’s important to assess individual scenarios and adjust the plan accordingly.

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