Performance reviews should be positive and motivational for both you and your employer, but sometimes they are a pivotal moment in a relationship. If you find yourself in a situation where your performance to date has not been satisfactory, you may be put on notice. A performance improvement plan is a key tool to help you get back on track. Here are five tips to help you improve your own performance and show that you are committed to improving.
1. Clarify Performance Standards
When evaluating performance without clear definitions and metrics around success, it can be next to impossible for an employee to get back on stable ground. Work closely with your manager to understand exactly where your performance might be lacking. Once you have those specific measurable behaviors and results targeted, you can create a clear action plan that will drive you forward.
2. Highlight Success and Opportunities for Growth
It’s all too easy to get too comfortable in our roles, thinking we know everything there is to learn. But when it comes to responding to a performance improvement plan, you have clear proof that there’s something that you need to do differently. This is a clear indicator that you have some more growing to do. Building in intentions for growth into your performance improvement plan is actually a really good opportunity for both you and your employer to get clear on what you’d like to accomplish. Ask yourself, “am I really doing everything I can do to be my best self at work and put my best foot forward?” Reflect on your daily practices and behaviors and consider what you felt went well over the past few months and what could be improved. Ask for honest feedback from friends and colleagues to help guide your way forward.
3. Measure Progress Frequently
Not checking in regularly with whoever is evaluating your performance can be a quick way to run into trouble. While they may not be comfortable conversations, asking for feedback on progress frequently is a powerful way to make sure you are taking the right steps to accomplish the goals set out in your Performance Improvement Plan.
4. Put Your Best Foot Forward
Try approaching each day at your current job as if it were your first. Put in the extra effort to show up as your best self because now is the time when you really need to prove yourself. If there are internal factors that are affecting your work, these should be addressed. For example, you may not get along with your boss. You might not have the necessary training needed to succeed. Take the time to assess your environment at work to see if there is something blocking your success. Then make sure you take care of any external forces impacting your work. If family dynamics, relationship stress, mental health or financial struggles are blocking you, let your boss know. Take advantage of any employee assistance programs available and get the help you need to bring your best self to work each day.
5. Start Building Out a Backup Plan
And while you do everything you can to improve your performance, it’s also a good idea to have a contingency plan. Clear up your resume. Start reaching out to your network. Explore new opportunities so that if you are not able to keep your job in the end, you are not wholly unprepared to move on to the next one.
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