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Employee Performance Plan: What it is, Why it's Important, and How to Create One

An employee performance plan is a critical part of the professional development and performance review of one of your employees. Also known as a performance improvement plan (PIP), these plans are designed to help your employees acknowledge their strengths, improve on their weaknesses, and better serve your practice and patients. 

What is a Performance Plan?

An employee performance plan is a plan that can help your dental, optometry, veterinary, or other medical practice manage and improve the performance of your employees. It can come during an annual performance review and be used to identify potential weaknesses, as well as continue to develop already-existing strengths. It should come with an action plan that is specific and lays out exactly what attributes need to be improved, as well as how to get there. 

An employee performance plan should be regularly updated and used in all situations - not just if the employee is struggling. If done correctly, an employee performance plan will contain the following characteristics: 

  • It will be conducted for a specified period, like the annual review. As the name implies, it will occur on a regular, timely, and predictable basis. 
  • It can be used for onboarding employees via 30-60-90 day check-ins, for instance. This can be useful for providing them with initial goals that can help them learn their role and develop their skills for that role.
  • It can be a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). A Performance Improvement Plan is utilized for underperforming employees with significant deficiencies that may require termination if those issues are not addressed. 
  • It can also be developed for newer employees who may be struggling and need extra support. This is different from a Performance Improvement Plan, as these employees may simply need to "work out the kinks" of starting their employment with your practice. 

If you are going to establish an employee performance plan, consider the following: you have to do it right.

This means you should:

  • Customize your plan based on the situation and employee.
  • Create templates where possible, a service that HR for Health can assist you with.
  • Establish regular meeting dates/times to follow up on performance, and provide specific, actionable feedback.
    This process can be daunting, particularly if you operate a medical, dental, or other health-related practice that hasn't done these plans in the past. Thankfully, there are processes that can help.

When to Create a Performance Plan

The answer to this question depends on the needs of your business. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Consider creating a plan after an employee starts. This will give you the opportunity to develop an action plan that fits their needs after they've had some time to acclimate to the job. 
  • Do one on a regular basis, like every six months or a year.
  • Create one as part of a Performance Improvement Plan, when it will be necessary to help an employee improve their performance. 

How to Evaluate Performance

Every dental, optometry, or other healthcare practice will have different metrics for how you should evaluate performance and ensure that your employee is doing the job you need them to do. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • First, new hires can be shadowed by their trainer. This enables the quick identification and correction of any mistakes. 
  • Peer review can help develop an understanding of how a new hire collaborates with their team.
  • Any performance issues and coaching conversations should be documented. This can occur via HR for Health's Violations feature (read more here and here). This can help you create any necessary Performance Improvement Plans or engage in a progressive discipline plan.
Recommended Resource: HR for Health Employee Performance Tools


Why are Performance Plan Reviews Important?

An employee performance plan can be a critical part of improving your practice and retaining employees. Indeed, it is important for many reasons, including:

It can help ensure that employees understand their weaknesses, negating any claims by an employee that they were never told about employee issues.

  • It can help keep employees engaged in their work and your practice.
  • It gives employees goals to strive for and an increased sense of purpose. 
  • It  acts as an employee retention tool. When done correctly, an employee performance plan and subsequent action plan show employees that you care. It shows them that you are invested in their success, and you want them to be invested in your practice. This makes good employees more likely to stay. 

The Importance of an Employee Performance Plan Can't be Understated

Employee performance plans are more than just about finding flaws or weaknesses in your employees. When done right, and with the right mindset, they can show how invested you are in the future success of your employees. They can lead to increased productivity, sales, and positive attitudes, and set the stage for the real development of your employees in the future.

How HR for Health Can Help

HR for Health is here to help your medical, dental, chiropractic, or other medical practices grow and succeed. We have robust HR documentation that can help you create useful employee performance reviews. 

We also have expert HR consultants on hand to help guide you through the creation of employee performance plans, action plans, and best practices for conducting a performance review. As noted above, our performance review and violations feature - and specifically the notes section - can be invaluable when it comes to documenting poor behavior or other violations. Practices can also use this feature to keep notes - positive or negative - about employee performance.

If you want more information about how HR for Health can help your practice grow and thrive, contact us today to schedule an HR Consultation.

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