“How often do people ‘succeed’ or ‘survive’ Performance Improvement Plans?”

Question: Hi, Alan. Is it possible to save my job, or should I start looking for a new job?

I was put on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”) about a month ago. After 30 days, instead of ending the PIP my boss extended the PIP for another 30 days because she did not have the time to help me resolve my issues.

I have been documenting everything that I complete during the work day. Do you think this will help? Someone in my office told me that if I make it past this PIP that I could not be fired. I really love my job, and do not want to lose it.

One more thing: my department is being reorganized, and I will be reporting to a new boss and supervisor.

        Geri Richard             
        Columbus, Ohio         

Answer: Geri, I must admit that I am something of a skeptic. In my decades of experience, I have not seen too many employees “survive” a Performance Improvement Plan. I think this is for two primary reasons:

First, as an employer, myself, I cannot imagine an employee significantly improving their overall performance in just 30, or even 60 days. That takes a longer time frame, and true dedication to doing so on the part of both employee and employer. Most Performance Improvement Plans I’ve seen seem more designed to serve as a  “cover” or a “paper trail,” than as a mutual employer-employee commitment to improving an employee’s performance.

Second, being placed on a Performance Improvement Plan is considered by many to be “one foot out the door,” a “negative mark,” and a sign of job insecurity. If Performance Improvement Plans were as positive in spirit and intent as many HR folks would characterize them, you’d see more top executives requesting them, and HR executives first in line!!

That being said, some people do survive a Performance Improvement Plan. If you and your new boss and supervisor approach your Performance Improvement Plan with the right spirit and in good faith, it can be done.

You might try hard to perform your very best and, yes, keep track in a written record of your daily accomplishment. You might also, at the same time, keep an eye out for something new.

Good luck to you. Thanks for writing in!

Best, Al Sklover

To obtain a Model Letter for “Pushing Back” at a PIP, just [click here].

© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.