A performance action plan, also called a performance improvement plan, offers an employee guidelines for improvement, in writing, by the employee’s manager or supervisor. The action plan is presented to the employee during his performance review. The plan generally includes a time frame in which the employee must improve his performance. To eliminate misunderstandings and to give the employee a clear path to follow, the performance action plan must be properly implemented.

Conduct on-going discussions with the employee regarding her work performance before delivering the plan. Otherwise the employee will be unprepared for the unsatisfactory review.

Write the action plan, summarizing previous discussions with the dates of the discussions. Include what was discussed and the outcome of these discussions. For instance, if the employee agreed that he needed to improve his job performance, note this agreement. If he did not agree, state accordingly.

Document the employee’s unmet standards. Note the challenges the employee has faced in her role. State the expectations of the employee’s position as outlined in her written job description which she should have a copy of.

State the effect of the employee’s performance on the department or company. Include how his performance has affected his coworkers, subordinates or superiors.

Write down the behavior or performance changes the employee needs to make. Include the assessment and effective date. State precisely what tasks the employee will perform and how you will help her to improve during the allotted time frame.

Notify the employee of his expectations, verbally and in writing. Discuss the strategies you will use to track his progress. For instance, if time management skills are an issue, inform him that you expect daily emails showing the progress on assigned projects.

Communicate with the employee what actions will be taken if she fails to meet job or behavior standards during the improvement period. This can include providing additional training, changing her job description or termination if standards are consistently unmet.

Ask the employee for feedback on the action plan. He does not have to give you a written response; but if he prefers this method, allow him to do so. He can also give you verbal feedback, which you should note and ask him to initial. If he does not want to provide his initials, write down the response and include the date and time.

Tell the employee to sign the action plan. Ensure the document states that the employee’s signature does not mean she agrees with its content; she is simply acknowledging receipt of it.


A copy of the action plan should be forwarded to the human resources department and placed in the employee’s personnel file.