Performance Improvement Plan Policy

Policy Title

Performance Improvement Plan Policy (updated 10.15.19)

Performance Improvement Plan Policy

Policy Category Employment, Benefits, and Workplace Policies
Policy Approval Date October 1, 2019
Responsible Office Finance and Administration
Related Policies Progressive Discipline Policy
Policies Superseded None
Frequency of Review 3 Years
Date of Revision October 1, 2022

I. Scope

The Performance Improvement Plan Policy (“Policy”) applies to all staff members of the University, including both Exempt and Non-Exempt Staff Members (hereinafter collectively referred to as “employees”). This Policy does not apply to faculty members or student workers. See section IV below for the definitions of capitalized terms contained in this Policy.

II. Policy Statement

The purpose of this Policy is to provide supervisors and managers with guidelines to address Unsatisfactory Work Performance. Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) are intended to establish a structured corrective action process to improve and prevent a recurrence of Unsatisfactory Work Performance. The key to an effective PIP is identifying what behavior is expected of the employee and what behavior is occurring; put another way, identifying the gap between expectation and performance. When such Unsatisfactory Work Performance is identified, the supervisor should communicate with the employee to take corrective or remedial action, which may include coaching and support tools, and/or the establishment of a PIP.

III. Policy

There may be instances where initial or continued Unsatisfactory Work Performance may result in immediate adverse employment action, up to and including termination. Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • The length of time the employee has been employed or has been in the position;
  • The seriousness or egregiousness of the unsatisfactory performance;
  • The impact the Unsatisfactory Work Performance has on the essential business needs of the University or the department; and
  • The grade level of supervisory responsibilities of the employee.

Termination for Unsatisfactory Work Performance is a serious matter that requires careful evaluation and the approval of the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Employee Experience or the Unit Vice President for non-U.S. based employees of The College of Global Studies (“TCGS”), or their designees. For instances where immediate adverse employment action is not deemed necessary, supervisors should act consistently with the procedures that follow.

When supervisors identify areas or patterns of Unsatisfactory Work Performance of their employees, they are encouraged to discuss the problems and ways to improve with the employees. If the Unsatisfactory Work Performance continues, and if appropriate, supervisors may use their discretion to establish a formal period of evaluation, or PIP, during which time the employee can correct their performance. No employee can be placed on a PIP until the supervisor has met and consulted with the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Employee Experience or the Unit Vice President for non-U.S. based employees of TCGS, or their designees, as to the details and objectives of the PIP.

Once a decision is made for an employee to be placed on a PIP, the supervisor, with the assistance of the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Employee Experience or the Unit Vice President for non-U.S. based employees of TCGS, or their designees, will meet in person with the employee to discuss the formal period of evaluation or issuance of PIP and to identify the specific areas within the employee’s job description where demonstrated and sustained improvement must occur in order to continue employment. The supervisor should also establish a reasonable period of time, relative to the nature of the problem, for the employee to demonstrate improved performance.

Supervisors are encouraged to use the following template as a guideline for the development of a PIP, and where possible, include employee input on the ways to correct/remedy the Unsatisfactory Work Performance.

  • A description of the Unsatisfactory Work Performance;
  • Standards and expectations that must be attained;
  • An explanation of the period of evaluation (e.g., ninety (90) days); and
  • A statement that unless the level of improvement is made and sustained, termination of employment could occur.

During the time period specified in the PIP, the supervisor will meet regularly with the employee to provide feedback on the employee’s progress. One-on-one weekly or biweekly meetings with the employee and supervisor are encouraged and supervisors should provide formal reviews at least every thirty (30) days of the PIP period. The Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Employee Experience or the Unit Vice President for non-U.S. based employees of TCGS, or their designees, can attend these meetings if desired. The supervisor will also communicate updates as to the employee’s progress in relation to the terms of the evaluation or PIP. A representative of the Office of Human Resources may also meet individually with the employee to provide counsel on ways to improve performance, as well as to discuss other employment or training options.

Throughout the duration of the PIP up to its expiration, the supervisor will determine if the work performance meets the established standards. If the standards have been achieved, the supervisor will notify the employee in writing of the successful completion of the PIP. If some performance improvement is made, the supervisor has the discretion to extend the period of evaluation or PIP for additional time, but under no circumstance should the total period of the PIP extend beyond a total of six (6) months.

If there is evidence that the employee cannot or will not improve work performance, either during the PIP period or at its expiration, the supervisor will do a final review with the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Employee Experience or the Unit Vice President for non-U.S. based employees of TCGS, or their designees, to determine if termination is warranted. During this review, alternative possible outcomes, such as reassignment, transfer, or demotion, may be considered based on the specific circumstances. In the event the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Employee Experience or the Unit Vice President for non-U.S. based employees of TCGS, or their designees, agree with the recommendation to terminate, the employee will be notified of the termination in writing and/or in person by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Employee Experience or the Unit Vice President for non-U.S. based employees of TCGS, or their designees, including their final date in the workplace.

Employment at Arcadia University is based on the premise of employment at will. This means that employment can be terminated with or without cause, with or without notice, at any time at the option of either the University or the employee, unless the employment relationship is governed by an expressed agreement.

IV. Definitions

A Non-Exempt Staff Member is defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act as a Staff Member holding a position that is subject to the overtime provisions of the Act.

An Exempt Staff Member is defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act as a Staff Member holding a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional position that is not subject to the overtime provisions of the Act.

Misconduct which may result in immediate adverse employment action, up to and including Termination, could include insubordination; theft of or damage to University property; conduct involving illegal drugs, alcohol, weapons, or acts or threats, including implied threats, of violence; conduct leading to the release of confidential information; the making of false statements or misrepresentations, including the falsification of documentation; and conviction for a crime that calls into question an individual’s fitness for their position. However, employee Misconduct is intended to be broadly conceived and may include other acts including but not limited to: unauthorized absence(s); excessive lateness or “early quit”; a Non-Exempt Employee’s failure to record time in or out or performing unauthorized extra work; unprofessional conduct; failure to comply with health or safety rules or to report accidents—including vehicle accidents—or personal injury immediately to a supervisor; failing to observe housekeeping rules or otherwise creating unsanitary conditions; sleeping or gambling during work hours; unauthorized use of Arcadia property; disruptive or disorderly conduct; theft of or damage to the property of other employees, students, or visitors; offering, soliciting, giving, or taking bribes; or violations of University Policy, including the Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking or Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policy.

Unsatisfactory Work Performance can encompass a variety of work behaviors that includes, but is not limited to:

a. Inability to complete work assignments or correct errors in a reasonable amount of time;

b. Inability to or unwillingness to learn new tasks or skills or to work collaboratively;

c. Inability to exercise good judgment;

d. Inability to receive or take instruction/direction; or

e. Violation of University or departmental rules or policies or inappropriate conduct.

University refers to Arcadia University, its colleges, schools, affiliates, divisions and subsidiaries.

V. Effective Date

This Policy is effective on the date that it is signed by the President

VI. Date of Approval

October 1, 2019