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Performance Improvement

7 Examples of the Performance Improvement Process

The performance improvement process is a standard set of steps that an organization adopts to manage low employee performance. This is intended to give an employee a fair chance to improve their performance before further action such as termination of employment is taken. The following is a basic performance improvement process.
Management Feedback → Verbal Warning → Written Warning → Probation → Performance Improvement Plan → Performance Review → Continuation / Restoration / Termination

Management Feedback

An employee is provided with regular feedback such that low performance is immediately communicated without delay. This is part of the team management process.

Verbal Warning

Where employee performance is unacceptably low and the employee hasn't improved on feedback, a formal performance improvement process is initiated in a meeting between the employee and their manager. In some cases, human resources will attend this meeting. However, this isn't done in front of a large number of people to avoid perceived loss of face.

Written Warning

The performance issue is unambiguously communicated in a written warning that is preserved as an audit trail. This is often a performance review but can also be a letter.


The performance improvement process is viewed as a type of probation whereby the employee is given a specific time period such as 90 days to improve their performance before termination. The employee's probation is ended upon satisfactory completion of the performance improvement plan. The terms of the probation / performance improvement are communicated in the written warning(s).

Performance Improvement Plan

A performance improvement plan gives the employee objectives with clear targets that must be met in order to resolve the low performance.

Performance Review

The employee's performance is regularly reviewed against the plan with unambiguous feedback that indicates if performance is satisfactory.

Continuation / Restoration / Termination

If the employee has improved in an satisfactory way their status as a regular employee is restored. If the employee has improved with some shortfall the performance improvement period can be extended. Where performance continues to be low the decision may be made to terminate the employee. In some cases, a manager is determined to achieve this outcome such that they view the performance improvement process as a formality. This is not the intent of the process as many employees will become reasonably high performers after emerging from the performance improvement process.


In some cases, the employee is offered support such as counseling and training.
The performance improvement process applies to low performance as opposed to professional negligence or serious violations of policy that may directly lead to suspension or termination.

Performance Improvement

This is the complete list of articles we have written about performance improvement.
Employee Feedback
Employee Goals
Goal Planning
Goal Setting
Improvement Process
Low Performance
Measurable Goals
Performance Appraisals
Performance Issue
Performance Problems
Poor Performance
Self Assessment
Work Objectives
Work Performance
Work Quality
More ...
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