Question: Alan- I really appreciate your blog and its insights. It is great. I have a question on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”). 

I had a poor performance review two weeks ago. I was informed I would be placed on a Performance Improvement Plan. Here we are two weeks later, and they have not provided me with any documentation or direction. 

Is it my responsibility to follow up and ask for the PIP, or should I wait because it is a sign of lack of direction and follow up on my manager’s part?

 James
New York, New York

Answer: Dear James: First, thank you for your kind words. For me, appreciation is motivation, and I am so glad to hear that my readers see value in my thoughts. Performance Improvement Plans (or “PIP’s,” as they are often called) cause an awful lot of stress and anxiety even though – as seems to be happening to you – they may not yet have arrived. Here is how I see things:  

1. If you have not yet received your Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”), you have no responsibility to your employer to go out and seek it, although it might be wise to make sure it was not “lost in transit.” Just because you were told two weeks ago that you were going to be placed on a PIP, that did not necessarily mean that it would arrive immediately. My guess is that it is “in the works” at Human Resources, “on somebody’s desk,” or simply misplaced. You can never underestimate lack of direction and follow up, just as you point out. Don’t worry – or maybe I should say you should worry – the PIP will almost surely “find you” pretty soon.  

As a precaution, though – just in case it was sent to you and somehow “lost in transit” – you might simply send an email to your manager asking if the PIP was sent, as you have not, to your knowledge, received the PIP from him, her or Human Resources. 

2. I do think you owe it to yourself and to your family to prepare for your probably-soon-to-be-arriving PIP. Whether or not your “promised” Performance Improvement Plan ever does arrive on your desk – and it probably soon will – you should get yourself ready for it. There are several things you might do to get ready to be “PIP’d”:

(a) You might review our free YouTube video on Performance Improvement Plans. It is just a [click] away. 

(b) You might review our many Newsletters and Q&A’s on Performance Improvement Plans. You can do so by a simple [click here.]

I personally recommend you consider obtaining a copy of our “152-Point Step-By-Step  Guide to Performance Improvement Plans,” by clicking [here.]  

3. Here are seven additional practical ways to prepare yourself to receive your PIP. Consider these seven steps to prepare yourself while you have the time: 

(i) You might review your company’s website, Employee Handbook, or other sources for the company’s procedures for receiving, and responding to, Performance Improvement Plans;

(ii) Gather together past Performance Reviews, commendation letters and other proof that you have done a good job;

(iii) Gather together, and seek some more, letters from customers, colleagues, vendors, subordinates and even former employees attesting to your proven value;

(iv) Identify what your goals have  been, whether or not they were reasonable, whether you were given sufficient time and resources to reach those goals, and whether you received due credit for all you have achieved;

(v) If there might be an “improper motivation” taking place that is responsible for your bad review, consider what it might be, including discrimination, harassment or bullying;

(vi) Assess what you might need during a job search period, including getting a good picture of what your financial needs and resources are; and, last but not least;

(vii) Engage in additional stress-reduction activities, such as prayer, exercise and meditation, for they produce a sense of clarity and calm that can only be helpful to you.    

You might also consider our Ideal Package for Dealing with Performance Improvement Plans by clicking [here.] 

James, Performance Improvement Plans represent a real risk to your employment, finances and career, and so should never be taken lightly. You are wise to be wary, and to wonder what you can do to lessen the risks in front of you. But, please don’t become fearful, because fear is disabling and destructive, and never wise. Instead, do what you are now doing: inquire, respond and stand tall. And, if you wish “fold your parachute,” too. 

As always, I truly hope this has been of some help to you.         

My Best to You,
Al Sklover

P.S.: Want to learn more of this “good stuff” regularly? You can Receive Each of Our Blog Posts Automatically, For Free, if you just [click here.] And we promise: we never sell, lease or let anyone see our subscriber list. Never, ever.

Help Yourself With
These Unique PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PLAN (PIP) Materials

PIP 1: Model Response to Receiving a PIP
PIP 2: Model Second Response if Your First Response Does Not Work
PIP 3: 152- Point Step-by-Step Guide and Checklist for a PIP
PIP 4: 3 Memos Seeking Feedback of Clients, Customers, Colleagues for Use in PIP Pushback
PIP 5: Final Memo to Delay PIP Conclusion to Continue Job Search
PIP 6: After Successful PIP Pushback, Suggesting Positive Next Steps

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