“What can I do if I was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”), and my Manager seems to be sabotaging my improvement efforts?”

Question: For ten years on my job, I never once had a bad review. Then, a few months ago, shortly after I was assigned to a new manager who is based in another state, I was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”).

According to the PIP, I have been “unresponsive” to our internet users who call our company. When I asked for the source of that allegation my manager would not give it to me. When I asked when I was “unresponsive,” he wouldn’t respond.

My PIP requires me to keep a weekly log of calls that come in, and my interaction with the callers. After one week, I provided my log to my manager, and got no feedback. After the second week, I provided my log to my manager, and asked him for feedback. None came. I also asked for a “progress report” from him, but he won’t give me one.

I think he is trying to get rid of me. My PIP period is over on February 18th. Any ideas?0

Modesto, California

Answer: What you describe is quite common: your manager is acting as if he or she does not want you to succeed at your Performance Improvement Plan.

You need to make a Written Record of (a) your manager’s refusal to give you information about his allegations of your poor performance, (b) your manager’s refusal to give you feedback about your performance since being placed on your PIP, and (c) your conclusion that he is making a mockery out of this process, in violation of Company policies and rules.

Your written record of “Manager PIP Sabotage” should be in an email, contain copies of your PIP logs, hopefully accompanied by copies of emails from you to your manager that went unanswered, and preferably accompanied by a copy of your employer’s written policies regarding Performance Improvement Plans (if there are any.)

You need to send your written “Record” of your Manager’s Sabotage of Your PIP to your company’s Head of HR and, perhaps, your company’s CEO.

You should mention in your written “Record” what you wrote to me: in 10 years, your performance was never attacked as it has been here, by a new manager who barely knows you.

You should note that this is a kind of fraud upon the company, and should be both (a) withdrawn, and (b) investigated by an honest, objective person from outside the company.

Remember that your “Record” needs to be specific about what happened, respectful in every way, and clear in what you want: the PIP withdrawn and investigated.

You might want to review the Newsletter/Q&A articles on Performance Improvement Plans in our Resource Center. You can do so by [clicking here]. You may also want to view our Video on the subject by [clicking here].

In all events, get going. You have little time to lose.

I hope this is helpful. As a “victim” of a Performance Improvement Plan, you have to do a bit of work to stand up and push back. The good thing is that – since very few people “survive” a PIP, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Please know that I hope this is helpful to you.

Best, Al Sklover

© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.