The purpose of the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is to define serious areas of concern and/or gaps in an employee’s work performance, reiterate the University of Vermont’s expectations, and allow the employee an opportunity to demonstrate improvement. The University of Vermont strives to encourage successful employees and foster strong working relationships through regular feedback and open lines of communication.

Performance Management Facts (PDF)

When are Performance Improvement Plans Completed?

Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) are completed when a supervisor establishes that an employee’s performance in one or more core competencies or essential functions is unsatisfactory. At the supervisor’s discretion, they may complete a PIP for area(s) that need improvement.

PIPs are used to establish expectations and address performance concerns either in conjunction with an annual performance review or at any point when, in the supervisor’s assessment, an employee needs clarification of his/her current job responsibilities and expectations in specific area(s) of concern.

PIPs are established to correct performance concerns with work quality or content, not behavioral concerns. If the issues are rooted in behavioral conduct, there may be a more appropriate tool to address concerns.

It is important for supervisors to contact their Dean’s Office/Business Manager when there are performance concerns with an employee that have not been corrected via informal communications.

Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) Process

The supervisor and employee meet to discuss the PIP. The supervisor should review each section of the PIP Form with the employee, discuss and confirm goals and objectives and articulate the support that will be provided to help the employee make improvement(s).

The discussion of the PIP is a critical part of the process. It is meant to be a constructive and cooperative two-way communication with primary emphasis on providing the employee with the support needed to improve performance. The PIP may be adjusted based on employee input, at the supervisor’s discretion.

The employee and supervisor should sign the PIP to indicate it has been reviewed and discussed. By signing, the employee is also acknowledging receipt of the document. The employee receives a copy, and a copy is retained in the employee’s departmental file.

The supervisor and employee should meet at regularly scheduled intervals during the PIP timeframe to provide the employee with feedback and monitor progress. The supervisor should document the content of these meetings.

  1. Supervisor establishes that performance is unsatisfactory or that improvement is needed.

  2. Supervisor contacts Dean’s Office/Business Manager to discuss if PIP is warranted.

  3. Dean’s Office/Business Manager contacts the servicing Labor & Employee Relations Professional.

  4. Supervisor completes the PIP Form. (all forms can be found on the Forms page)

    • Section 1 defines the performance deficiencies and how those deficiencies are impacting the employee’s work or the work place. Supporting documentation should be attached if appropriate.
    • Section 2 identifies specific instances of when the employee failed to meet performance expectations. It should include documentation of any previous conversations or other communication with the employee about performance concerns.
    • Section 3 specifies goals/objectives related to the areas of concern to be improved and the performance indicators that will be considered for success.
    • Section 4 indicates the PIP timeframe, and the availability of the supervisor to provide the employee with guidance and support, including the frequency of regularly scheduled feedback.
  5. Supervisor shares PIP with employee.

  6. Supervisor and Employee Finalize PIP

  7. PIP Follow-up Meetings

  8. Conclusion of the PIP

    At the end of the established timeframe, the supervisor must assess whether the employee has met the performance expectations outlined in the PIP and the supervisor and Business Manager should consult with LER about formally documenting the outcome. Written notification is required.

    If the PIP was successful, the supervisor should meet with the employee to formally close the PIP. If improvement has not occurred the Business Manager/Dean’s Office should contact their assigned Labor and Employee Relations Professional to discuss whether formal discipline is appropriate.