Category: Workplace Culture


January 3, 2024

PIPs: It’s Impossible to Explain Why We Still Use Them.

PIPs: Unraveling the Mystery of a Flawed System (And Building a Better One)

Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) sound good on paper. An employee struggles, so we offer a structured path to success. Unfortunately, reality often paints a bleak picture. PIPs, despite their good intentions, are riddled with problems that can undermine their effectiveness and even harm employee morale. Let’s delve into the key issues lurking beneath the surface of these seemingly well-meaning plans.


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December 8, 2023

Enhancing Employee Performance: Rethinking Progressive Discipline with Performance Improvement Plans

performance improvement plan

Progressive discipline has long been a standard approach to managing employee performance issues. However, in today’s dynamic workplace, its effectiveness often falls short when aiming to cultivate positive change and development among employees. This strategy supposedly targets to correct problems with employees, but the results often leave the relationship with the employee worse off. Whether it is a verbal warning or threat, punishment of this kind is typically doomed to fail. However, there are other approaches to take to help with improving employee performance. 

Performance Coaching: A Superior Approach to Progressive Discipline

The traditional method of progressive discipline tends to be punitive and may not address the root causes of underperformance. Rather than resorting to a disciplinary approach, adopting a performance coaching strategy can yield more constructive outcomes. A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) stands out as a proactive tool under this approach. By delineating clear expectations and providing structured guidance, a PIP empowers employees to enhance their performance, fostering a more supportive and developmental work environment.

Anticipating Conversations Before Discipline

Before implementing any form of disciplinary action, employers must initiate constructive dialogues with struggling employees. This involves preparing for discussions centered around a Performance Improvement Plan rather than immediately resorting to punitive measures. By proactively engaging in conversations geared towards improvement, both parties can collaboratively identify areas for development and establish actionable steps within the framework of a PIP.

Unveiling the Root Causes: Asking Probing Questions

Understanding the underlying reasons behind an employee’s performance issues is pivotal. Instead of simply reacting to the symptoms, supervisors should ask probing questions aimed at identifying the core issues. Engaging in open-ended conversations can reveal valuable insights into challenges faced by employees, enabling the creation of more tailored Performance Improvement Plans that address specific needs and concerns.

Rethinking the Performance Improvement Plan to a Coaching Approach

Rather than adhering to a rigid employee performance improvement plan, there’s immense value in embracing a high-performance coaching approach. This shift moves away from a remedial focus on correcting shortcomings towards a proactive strategy aimed at unleashing an individual’s full potential. High-performance coaching emphasizes continual growth, skill enhancement, and personalized guidance, fostering an environment where employees are motivated to excel and are empowered to consistently deliver their best work. It’s a more dynamic and engaging method that not only addresses weaknesses but also cultivates strengths, promoting a culture of ongoing development and achievement.

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October 30, 2023

It’s Impossible to Explain: Administering Punishment to Adults

We’re smart people so it’s impossible to explain why, in the world of HR and management, we still find ourselves mired in the age-old tradition of punishing employees for their shortcomings. It’s a question that’s been on our minds lately, and we can’t help but challenge the prevailing norms. We believe there’s a better way, a more progressive and respectful approach to dealing with performance and behavior issues in the workplace. One of the ways to administer corrective behavior is to develop a performance improvement plan. We’ll discuss more about the pros and cons of a performance improvement plan and how that affects an employee’s outlook.


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July 11, 2023

The Top Tips To Improve Workplace Culture

Workplace culture is crucial in driving employee satisfaction and achieving overall organizational success. It significantly impacts employee engagement and affects a company’s ability to attract and retain talents, boost productivity and improve financial performance. Maintaining a positive workplace culture can enable your business to produce the best results possible. 

Unfortunately, not many organizations put a lot of thought into the culture they’re creating. Meanwhile, others lose track of their efforts and eventually realize their work environment has become unintentionally toxic. 

The good news is that it’s never too late to turn things around. Make your workplace a healthy space where employees enjoy working and collaborating with others with these six tips to improve workplace culture.

1. Share the Company’s Mission, Vision and Values  

Your company’s mission, vision and values aren’t meant to be merely written on paper and never seen again. If your workplace culture needs work, sharing what your company is trying to achieve with the whole team is an excellent way to get started. 

When you take the time to explain your organization’s focus to everyone in it, you give your team a sense of direction. Meanwhile, showing how their roles contribute to the bigger picture makes every single one of them feel that they matter. 

2. Offer Flexibility to Your Employees  

A Harvard Business Review hybrid working study showed that 59% of knowledge workers value flexibility more than salary or other benefits. 77% of the respondents also said they would prefer working for an organization that gives them flexible work arrangements. 

Flexibility has become crucial in attracting and keeping today’s employees engaged. As such, it’s critical that you find the right balance between preserving smooth communication and coordination and allowing flexible working. 

Doing so enables your team to perform at their best while managing their personal lives. When done right, it also lets you maintain a high level of productivity and morale among your employees. 

3. Invest Time and Resources Into Team Building

Team building activities provide an excellent opportunity for employees to communicate informally, improve their bond with their coworkers and learn more about each others’ strengths. It also helps them feel more invested in each other and the teams they belong to. 

Another benefit is that these activities can lighten a serious work environment. By scheduling team building events, you allow employees to play and have fun with their coworkers. These can help reduce stress, foster stronger relationships and even keep your organization from turning into a toxic environment.  

4. Recognize Excellence and Achievements 

Ensuring that your employees know their efforts and successes do not go unnoticed goes a long way in improving company culture. It prevents them from feeling unappreciated and increases their satisfaction in their roles. 

Fortunately, employee recognition does not always have to be expensive. There’s nothing wrong with holding grand events where you recognize your top performers. However, acknowledging your team’s accomplishments can also be done by giving shout-outs on social media, offering their choice of experiential rewards and even celebrating their birthdays and work anniversaries can help. 

Finding thoughtful ways to recognize your team’s hard work makes them feel valued and respected. 

5. Communicate Expectations Clearly 

If you’re struggling to improve workplace culture, it helps to examine how open your communication is. Do your employees truly understand what is expected of them in their roles? Do they know how they can advance in your organization? 

Unclear expectations and poor communication can leave employees frustrated and unsure of how to excel at work. In the long run, this can negatively impact their motivation and how they work with others. 

Before it’s too late, set clear and measurable expectations for your employees. Moreover, don’t forget to guide them as they meet those expectations by providing regular feedback. Constant communication builds trust between leadership and employees, making building a positive company culture easier.  

6. Create Psychological Safety in Your Workplace

A critical aspect of building a positive workplace culture is ensuring it’s an environment where people feel comfortable being themselves. Are you making your employees feel included? Are you encouraging them to take risks or innovate without fear of punishment? 

If you aren’t sure you’re doing an excellent job in those areas, here are some ways to incorporate psychological safety into your company culture: 

  • Avoid micromanaging and give your employees autonomy. 
  • Encourage them to learn from their failures. Do away with punishments or humiliation. 
  • Make an intentional effort to promote sharing and receiving feedback. 

Employees feel safe taking risks, innovating and sharing their ideas in a work environment that promotes interpersonal respect. 

Transform Your Workplace and Start Building the Organization of Your Dreams 

A successful business isn’t just about launching the best products or offering the best services. In reality, running a thriving organization also involves building and maintaining a positive company culture. A company that values its employees and strives for a safe and productive environment sets itself up for success, even in challenging times. 

On that note, we hope you gained inspiration from our list of tips to improve workplace culture. There is no one correct answer when it comes to refining your corporate culture, but there are several strategies you can explore to refine your corporate culture. As long as you are intentional in repairing a toxic culture, your efforts can make a difference within your organization. 

Let HPWP Group help you get on the right track toward transforming your workplace. Fill out our contact form today to learn more about improving workplace cultures. Our team will gladly answer any questions to help you create the best workplace possible.

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June 9, 2023

What Is the Cost of Employee Turnover?

No matter how remarkable your product or service offering is, the people in your team will ultimately impact your business’s success. For this reason, you naturally want to hire – and retain – the best talents in your industry. 

Unfortunately, retaining your best team members is easier said than done. Even with the trend slowing down in recent months after the Great Resignation in 2021, many employees continue to quit their jobs voluntarily. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2023 release, 3.8 million people quit their jobs in April 2023.  (more…)

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May 4, 2023

Does a Shorter Workweek Actually Work?

The concept of a short workweek is not a new one. In the 1900s, unions advocated reducing the number of working days from six to five, which birthed the idea of “weekends.” The turn of the 20th century saw weekly work hours reduced from 60 to 40 per week. Economists in the last century, including John Maynard Keynes, predict that weekly work hours will compress even more and that a 15-hour workweek could happen in a few generations.  (more…)

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April 4, 2023

It’s Impossible to Explain – the Progressive Disciplinary Process

Sadly, the progressive disciplinary process is alive and well.  And, by progressive, I mean a series of actions that expect an employee’s performance to get better while treating them progressively worse.  (A good friend of ours who is unfamiliar with this draconian approach to dealing with people thought progressive meant “advanced” or “cutting-edge”.)  He was shocked to learn that this punitive practice is a common approach to dealing with adults on performance issues. (more…)

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March 1, 2023

It’s Impossible to Explain – How We Treat People During Layoff’s

It seems more and more often, things occur that are impossible to explain.

Here’s an example.  Amid the mass layoffs currently occurring, one long-term employee posted her recent layoff experience on LinkedIn.  She did not do this to argue specifically with the decision – but wanted to take the opportunity to say goodbye and thank those she had worked with for so many years.

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February 28, 2023

The Top 5 Benefits of a Flat Organizational Structure

An organizational structure is a framework for how business activities are performed and identifies each role, function and person in the organization’s operation within a set hierarchy. Having the right kind of organizational structure in place is critical to achieving your company’s mission. (more…)

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