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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Performance Improvement

What is Performance Improvement?

Performance improvement is a strategy under the umbrella of performance management to help employees achieve better performance and growth. Managers typically use performance improvement plans to help underperforming employees meet the organization’s standards and requirements, both in terms of productivity and behavior. This is called operational or individual performance improvement. On the other hand, performance improvement also occurs at a team level, department level, and organization level. This is known as organizational performance improvement.

Organizations may measure various metrics to gauge performance improvement.

On an individual level, managers might use: time cards, peer feedback, and quality control as a way to track an employee’s progress over time.

On an organization level, stakeholders could measure customer reviews, sales metrics, and much more to keep a pulse on larger scale performance. The goals of the performance improvement plan determine what should be tracked.

It is important to recognize that performance improvement is only effective if the performance issues in question can be resolved with a structured plan and time-sensitive goals. For example, qualitative deficiencies like sales goals or production quotas lend themselves well to a performance improvement plan because they are easy to measure and create goals around. Matters like poor leadership or disrespectful behavior are much more challenging to fit into a structured plan, and a different approach may be better.

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