Employees losing their focus and eventually their performance levels are not rare occurrences in the workplace. There are numerous factors that contribute to employees not performing at a high level.
This is where a work action plan comes in. If you are tasked by the human resource department or by top management to create a work action plan, here are some examples to guide you. We also included some tips on how to write an effective work action plan.
A work action plan is basically a business document that is created for the sole purpose of improving employee performance. Work action plans, or in other terms, employee corrective plans, are usually written by the human resource department in collaboration with management.
Work action plans are often attached to company policies, and the human resource department usually create policies to emphasize work action plans being the first option when employees are performing poorly in the workplace. This creates an opportunity for employees to improve their productivity and avoiding the scenario of being dismissed.
A work action plan offers a second chance to a struggling employee. As previously mentioned, there are numerous factors that contribute to employees performing at a standard that does not benefit the company. Those factors can range from difficult work responsibilities (monthly quota, work processes), to inability to adjust to the work environment (office mates, office location), or even to experiencing personal problems (family-related matters, diseases, or disorders).
A work action plan identifies the issues of the employee, and sets goals for that issue to be solved at the earliest time possible. Without a work action plan, employees would just continue to perform badly at the office, and the company will struggle to meet the demands of its customers and other external stakeholders.
Here are some tips to help you create an effective work action plan.
The first step in creating a work action plan is to identify issues or problems that caused a significant drop in the employee’s performance. It is best to list down all of the issues while also listing down possible solutions for each issue or problem.
Identifying employee problems and listing them in the work action plan assists employees in what areas to focus or improve on. Since possible solutions are also listed for each issue or problem, employees can be able to set goals and drastically reverse the problem which put them in a difficult situation in the first place.
Most companies already list down the issues before informing the employee, but there are also companies where they conduct a meeting with the concerned employee so that the employee can discuss his or her side of the problem, and that problem has resulted in less efficiency and less productivity. After the meeting, the work action plan will be laid out and discussed again with the employee, in which the employee will have to meet the conditions of the work action plan to be able to continue working with the company.
Here are examples of a work action plan where employee problems are being identified and corresponding solutions are listed as well.
Concern: Employee A constantly makes errors when creating the monthly payroll, causing employees to receive salaries less than the amount they are supposed to receive.
Solution: Employee A, under the supervision of the accounting officer, will undergo a review of the company’s payroll computation structure for one week. Employee A will temporarily cease computing the next payroll to make way for the review. Employee B will take on Employee A’s work responsibilities for the meantime and will be assisted by Employee C who will also be temporarily transferred to the payroll department for one week.
The review will cover basic payroll computation techniques, use of the company’s in-house accounting system, creation of other financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flows), and specific items of the national labor law that is applicable the company. The said review is listed under section A of the accounting and payroll department’s policy, which is also listed in the company’s overall employee manual and code of conduct.
Although a work action plan is already a goal in itself, specific goals need to be set to make sure the employee improves his work performance. Goals are not only set by the company to become more profitable and sustainable. And they are certainly not only set by individuals to advance their position in the company. Goal-setting is also common for ineffective employees to become more productive in the workplace.
Goals are needed to make the work action plan effective. Take note that goal-setting here is not only limited to the employee but also applies to the human resource manager and to the employee’s immediate supervisor or manager.
Here are some examples of work action plan goals:
Concern: Employee A has accumulated 15 lates in the past two months.
Goal (for the employee): To reduce and eventually eradicate permanently tadiness issues.
Goal (for human resource manager): To make sure the employee abides with the company’s strict tardiness policy and significantly reduces or completely resolve his tardiness issues in the next month.
Concern: Employee A is having a hard time adjusting to his team members after being transferred from another department last month.
Goal (for employee’s immediate supervisor): To make sure Employee A and the rest of the team will be comfortable working with each other by month’s end.
So you may ask what is the difference between a goal and a solution/alternative since they constructed and stated in a similar way? The goal is basically answerable by the question “what do you want to achieve?” while the solution is answerable by “how do you plan to achieve it?” The solution is concrete and specific and lists how the employee will be able to improve his performance.
Similar to all action plans, a time frame is also an important element in a work action plan. This informs the employee how much time he has in improving his work and also informs the company how much time they are willing to give to the employee to for him to improve.
Companies do not have the luxury of time, as they are constantly dealing with clients on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, one ineffective employee can cause a ripple effect throughout the whole company, resulting in a product or service that does not pass the standards of the company. This can result in customers being satisfied with the product or service, or worse, customers switching to another company selling a similar product but with better quality.
That is the reason why companies are intolerant with unproductive and underperforming employees. A work action plan is not a form of punishment, but instead acts a reminder for employees to do their jobs consistently and effectively.
Time frames are usually incorporated after each issue or problem is listed down. But if the employee is only experiencing a single problem, then a time frame is just simply stated anywhere in the work action plan.
Here are examples of a time frame written in a work action plan:
Concern: Employee A has failed to meet the monthly required quota for three months in a row.
Goal: Employee A should meet 70% of the monthly required quota for two succeeding months, as stated in the compant policy.
Solution: As stated in the company policy, Employee A should only meet 70% of the monthly required quota for two succeeding months. Employee A will undergo sales training for two weeks to discuss and improve interpersonal skills, as well identify markets in which he can sell the products being manufactured by the company.
Time frame: July 1 to August 31, 2018. If Employee A is still not able to meet 70% of the required monthly quota, he will be dismissed.
Formulating a work action plan is not difficult, but companies should not sleep on this type of action plan as it determines if the employee stays in the company or not. A struggling employee is not good for the company, thus a work action plan is needed so that it becomes a win-win situation not only for the company, but also for the employee.