Performance Problems

In this section, you’ll find tools to help you address performance problems, including tips and scripts for performance improvement plans, coaching out, and letting go.

Four Steps for Addressing Performance Problems

What do you do when someone isn’t performing well—they’re not meeting expectations, hitting goals, or demonstrating the must-haves of their role? How much should you invest in performance improvement? When is it time to let someone go? And, how the #@$% do you decide? These four steps will help you navigate the tricky processes of addressing performance problems.

Addressing Performance Problems Case Study

Check out this case study that illustrates the four steps outlined in our article on addressing performance problems: reflect, check in, assess, consider and decide.

Performance Improvement Plan Toolkit

A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is a written plan with clear steps to help your staff member get to the expected level of performance for their role. This toolkit includes two resources: 1) a preparation worksheet for managers, which can be helpful whether or not you’re ready for a formal PIP; and 2) a template for a written Performance Improvement Plan you can fill in and share with your staff member.

Frequently Asked Questions About Performance Problems

How long should you give someone to improve after warning them? What should I do when someone isn’t meeting expectations, but I can’t pinpoint concrete things they messed up either? Here are some questions that we often hear regarding performance problems.

How to Approach Tricky Performance Improvement Plans

Here are some tricky performance scenarios our clients have encountered, and suggestions for designing a responsive performance improvement plan.

Sample Progressive Discipline Policy

Progressive discipline consists of a brief series of increasingly serious warnings, culminating in dismissal if an employee fails to improve sufficiently – and lets your staff know that they won’t be fired without first knowing about your concerns.

Informal Performance Warning – Sample Script

Here’s an example of what an initial, informal warning conversation might sound like with an employee who’s struggling.

Formal Performance Warning – Sample

When corrective feedback and support hasn’t led to improved employee performance, a more formal warning that clearly informs the employee that their job is in jeopardy is usually the next step. Here is an example of a formal performance warning in writing.

Coaching Out – Sample Script

A coaching-out conversation is aimed at convincing an employee that continued tenure in the role doesn’t make sense and agreeing on a smooth transition plan.

Firing – Sample Script

Managers often struggle to find the right words to use when letting an employee go, so here’s a sample script.

Sample Performance Evaluation Form – Corrective Assessment

We know it can help to see samples of this sort of thing, so here’s a sample evaluation of a struggling employee.

Common Choice Points

Here is a list of some of the most common choice points, or key decision-making opportunities, managers face that may have equity and inclusion impacts.

Perspective-Taking for Stronger Relationships

The more self-awareness and authentic consideration of others we cultivate, the better equipped we are to build and get better results, especially during moments of conflict, tension, and frustration. One key way to do this is through perspective-taking.

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