In today’s fast-paced work environment, it is crucial to identify areas where an employee’s performance may need improvement. Employers use performance improvement plans (PIPs) to help employees improve their performance. PIPs need to include a timeline and steps to follow. In this article, we will cover the top three performance improvement plan templates that can effectively boost performance.

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Understanding performance improvement plans

Before diving into the templates, it is essential to gain an in-depth understanding of what performance improvement plans are. PIPs are a formal process that employers use to address an employee whose performance is below expectations. The primary purpose of a PIP is to provide a roadmap to these employees, so they can see the changes that must be made in their performance. 

The importance of performance improvement plan templates

A PIP is not just a tool to corner employees or to justify taking disciplinary action. It is an opportunity to provide a clear roadmap and encouragement to employees to help them strengthen their work. When handled positively, PIPs can enhance productivity and morale in the workplace. Employees with a PIP believe their employer supports their success, motivating them to improve their performance.

Key elements of an effective performance improvement plan

An effective PIP is characterized by several elements. First, it must be specific and measurable, outlining a clear course of action and time frame. The worker needs to know what is expected of them and how to improve their performance. 

Second, it should include support and resources via training or mentorship, as employers can use these to help employees succeed. 

Last, an effective PIP must provide regular check-ins to track progress and make adjustments accordingly. The employee and their manager would meet regularly to discuss progress and make any necessary changes to the plan.

Overall, an effective PIP can be a valuable tool for both employers and employees. By providing a clear roadmap and support, employers can help employees improve their work and create a more positive work environment.

Wrike can help employees achieve their personal development goals

Wrike can empower employees to achieve their personal development goals through a performance improvement plan by offering a centralized platform for goal setting and tracking. Wrike allows employees to collaborate with their managers in setting goals and targets. This ensures that their personal growth is in line with company priorities. The platform also helps employees stay on track and get feedback, creating a supportive environment for personal and professional growth.

Screenshot of the Wrike interface with a daily dashboard

Template 1: Basic performance improvement plan

Overview of the basic template

The basic performance improvement plan template is a simple strategy for first-time offenders or employees with general performance concerns. It is a useful tool for managers looking to help improve employee performance. This template provides a structured approach, where clear action steps are outlined and assigned to each struggling employee.

When to use the basic template

The Basic PIP template should be used when the expectations of employees are not being met for the first time. This template is for employees with general performance issues that can be improved with guidelines and better communication. In addition, the basic PIP template is a proactive approach to addressing performance issues before they escalate and become more serious.

It’s important to note that the basic PIP template is not suitable for all performance issues. If an employee’s performance issue is more complex or requires significant training or development, a different PIP template may be more appropriate.

Tips for implementing the basic template

To use the basic PIP template effectively, managers should provide clear guidance and support to employees. This includes breaking down the expectations clearly, providing training tools if required, and sharing feedback when necessary. It is essential to provide routine checkpoints to monitor progress and identify slight tweaks to increase positive outcomes.

Managers should also create a supportive environment for employees to boost their performance. This includes providing regular feedback and recognition for progress made. It is important to approach the basic PIP template with a positive and constructive attitude, focusing on betterment rather than punishment.

Template 2: Goal-oriented performance improvement plan

Overview of the goal-oriented template

The goal-oriented PIP template is an effective strategy for addressing specific areas of improvement that can be measured. This template is ideal for managers who want to help their employees achieve their full potential by setting clear and achievable goals.

By using this template, managers can provide their employees with a roadmap for success, which can increase their motivation and productivity. Additionally, this template provides a structured approach to addressing performance issues, which can help to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts.

Excel by setting SMART goals

The SMART goal technique is ideal for this strategy, emphasizing that goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Managers and employees can set clear goals that match the company’s objectives and the employee’s career goals.

For example, if an employee is struggling with time management, a reasonable SMART goal could be to reduce the time it takes to complete a task by 20% within the next month. The goal sets a specific time and amount for the employee to improve in a task. This makes it easier to track progress and provide feedback.

Monitor progress and adjust goals

After setting SMART goals, it is essential to monitor progress regularly and adjust goals based on employee feedback. For this template, it is beneficial to schedule short meetings to discuss performance and make adjustments continually.

During these meetings, managers can provide feedback on the employee’s progress and offer support and guidance to help them achieve their goals. If the employee is making progress, more challenging goals can be set. If the employee is struggling, the manager can provide additional resources and support to help them overcome the obstacles they are facing.

Picture of teammates smiling and high-fiving, implying they've reached their improvement goals

Template 3: Skills development performance improvement plan

Overview of the skills development template

The skills development PIP template is a great option for employees who display a specific skill set gap that requires improvement. However, it is important to note that this template is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each employee has unique strengths and weaknesses, and it is necessary to tailor the plan to their individual needs.

One way to identify skill gaps is through regular performance evaluations. These should be conducted in a supportive manner, with managers providing constructive feedback and guidance for improvement. Also, employees should be encouraged to self-evaluate and identify areas where they feel they could improve.

Identify skill gaps and areas for improvement

Managers should work with employees to identify areas of development and the necessary skill sets required. Similar to the goals outlined in Template 2, this template also requires setting SMART goals. Breaking tasks into smaller steps helps employees reach goals and feel accomplished.

It is also crucial to provide adequate training and support to help employees develop the necessary skills. This may involve providing access to online courses, workshops, or mentoring programs. By investing in employee development, organizations can show they value their employees and are committed to their growth.

Create a skills development action plan

The skills development PIP has a heavy focus on the development of specific skills. As such, managers must document critical elements such as training modules, the designated trainer, and the expected outcomes. This documentation will confirm that the plan is being followed and that progress is being made toward the goals.

It is also important to regularly review the plan and make adjustments as needed. As employees develop new skills, their goals may change, and it is essential to update accordingly. 

This template has multiple uses within a company. It can be used to improve communication and teamwork. It can also be used for learning coding and data analysis. By providing employees with the tools and support they need to develop their skills, organizations can enhance their overall performance.


PIPs are an essential and effective tool for meeting improvement goals for an employee’s performance and productivity in the organization. Choosing the right template that suits the nature of the performance issues can make all the difference. By providing a clear roadmap, setting specific goals, and providing training and ongoing support, employees can excel and grow in their roles. 

Take the time to implement PIPs effectively to maintain a positive work culture and invest in the success of employees. By doing so, your organization can create a productive workforce with a successful team that knows how to go about achieving the company’s goals.

Boost your team’s performance even further by creating effective performance improvement plan templates in Wrike. Start your free trial today and leverage powerful tools to foster a performance-driven culture.

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Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.