Performance Improvement Programmes
Employees are required to carry out their jobs to a certain standard. Where an employer considers an employee to be performing below that standard it will often be appropriate to take steps to manage their performance. This should involve informing the employee of the ways in which their performance is falling below the standard required of them and setting out the steps they need to take in order to improve. It will often be appropriate to provide training, or other assistance in order to help the employee address the areas of concern.
A Performance Improvement Procedure (PIP) should be regarded as a positive system to help employees develop and work to the best of their potential. A PIP will be separate and distinct from an employer’s annual appraisal system and will be initiated to address concerns, not to generally review performance.
When addressing issues with an employee’s performance the following steps should be taken:
- Investigation – concerns about poor performance should be reasonably investigated before raising the matter with the employee. The level of investigation required will vary from case to case, and consideration should be given to any mitigating factors.
- Setting the required standard – employees should be given the opportunity to explain their performance. Goals should be set for the employee and training used where appropriate in order to improve performance.
- Consider whether any other action is required – depending on the seriousness of the poor performance, the employer must consider whether formal or informal disciplinary action is required.
In addition to addressing concerns about employee performance, performance reviews should be used to assess employees’ developmental needs and training requirements. Employees who believe they have been refused access to training or denied promotion on discriminatory grounds have the right to pursue claims in relation to such treatment through the Employment Tribunal.
Employers should ensure that performance review procedures are regularly reviewed and that assessment criteria do not discriminate against employees, either directly or indirectly.