Have you ever heard of the Grumpy Manager’s tale? Let me tell you all about him.

There was once an edgy manager who used to shame some of his staff when they made mistakes.  Mr. Grumpy Manager doesn’t realize that these people could actually be top-performers some day. But they lacked proper motivation, coaching and training.

He does not realize this fact because he doesn’t pay close attention to their needs. He acts as if he should always have the final say.  Sometimes though, he makes unreasonable demands of his team.

To Mr. Grumpy Manager, nothing is perfect until it’s done based on his instructions. The problem though is that he doesn’t always have the best ideas. But how can he find good ideas if he doesn’t listen to his people?

The Reasons for Poor Performance

Chances are you’ve come across underperforming employees at least several times. The practical thing to do is to find out why someone isn’t as productive as others in the company. While these employees put the company at risk, don’t put all the blame on them just yet. There are several things you need to consider before replacing them.

Some employees might not live up to their role due of different reasons. Perhaps they lack resources and tools to get their job done. There might also be a bad manager who micromanages every move they make or belittles them.

Another culprit for poor performance is the lack of proper training or worse, no training at all. One of the key ways to motivate a team is to let them learn both on the job and through courses and seminars. One study revealed that 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year.

A staggering $162 billion was spent last 2012 on corporate training  in the United States alone. Unfortunately, only 10% of these trainings were actually effective.

It’s about time to stop wasting such a huge amount of money on ineffective training. Instead, focus on finding out what your people need to perform better. Creating a performance improvement plan is one solution for this.

Steps for Creating a Performance Improvement Plan

Below is a sample template you may use to make your own performance improvement plan.

Performance Improvement Plan
Target Area Performance Deficiency Performance Goals Agreed Improvement Actions Support Timeframe Notes Deadline Consequence
Agreed by: Signature Date

So how do you actually use this template? How do you come up with your own performance improvement plan?

  1. Identify target areas where the person needs to improve. These are specific skills that the employee needs to develop to do his job better.
  2. Track and log deficiencies in performance. Include the dates and details of when the employee did not meet the needs of his job role.
  3. State clear and specific goals for the role. Remind the person of the specific duties he needs to do. This is also the best time to check whether the expectations of the company are realistic or not.
  4. Come up with agreed improvement actions. What specific steps should he take to avoid making the same mistakes? Talk about practical solutions with the person.
  5. Find out what kind of support the person needs to reach his goals. Ask him what he needs so he can meet his goals. Does he need more tools or training? What could motivate him to provide better performance?
  6. Give a reasonable timeframe for the action plan. Usually, a performance improvement plan takes 90 days. You can give extensions to this, depending on the situation.
  7. Set a target deadline. This will be the time to decide on the consequence as based on the result of the action plan.
  8. Add a section where you can jot down your observations. This will help you assess how far the employee has improved.
  9. State possible outcomes of the action plan. If the employee shows remarkable improvement, then it’s a good thing. But, if the employee fails the action plan, this might lead to transfer, demotion, or termination. Be honest in communicating all the possible outcomes with the employee.

What Mr. Grumpy Manager Learned

Mr. Grumpy Manager used to fire unproductive employees as quickly as switching lanes on EDSA. It was as if he was always shopping for employees in the recruitment market.

The HR team noticed the impatient manager’s behavior. The team wanted to help the manager change his attitude towards subpar employees. Together, they made a performance improvement plan for the manager’s staff.  It sought to help employees achieve new milestones that will help the company grow.

As a result, the impatient manager changed his attitude towards the employees. Some of the subpar employees started to become more productive as well.

Managers can solve an employee’s poor performance through a performance improvement plan. It’s also a way to remind managers to act as good managers, not a micromanager, never a grumpy manager.

Mr. Grumpy Manager learned his lesson. Sometimes, bad employees are a reflection of bad management. Managers and employees should always help each other improve. Remember, people working in one company should work as one.


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