Would you survive a PIP?

Being a young organization, we still have a long way to go before we have all our processes in place. One critical process which we’ve missed making an SOP for is the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). Almost all organizations around the world have a variant of this in place.

When I was first faced with the challenge of putting an employee on the much-dreaded PIP, I did what every newbie would naturally do – consult the older members. Had I consulted just one and followed what she said, I’d probably have escaped with disillusioned clarity. However, I went ahead and asked for four different opinions and received four different alternatives. I used my own judgment which was accepted by the business and used the solution that fit my business and my conscious.

Now, one year and many PIP cases later, I was asked to create an SOP for the organization. Fundamentally, I have a lot of dissonance with the process. Firstly, my business uses PIP as a sure shot way of throwing the resource out of the organization.  The manager enters with the mindset that the employee is going to be out in 3 months and the employee is equally sure of being kicked out. As a result, neither performs to their best capability. The resource is on a look out for another job from day 1. Very few ever try to turn a new leaf. One of my cases did miraculously survive only to be turned down from every project. Having being put on a PIP is a taboo.

Secondly, the duration of the PIP is never standard here. Most mangers can’t wait 3 months and bargain for a month long PIP. Just how much change in performance or behavior can you judge in a month? A manager’s impatience is a clear indication that he has given up hope even before the race began.

I’ve followed the steps that multiple articles on the internet advice, yet I see multiple pitfalls.

PIP is rarely ever a performance improvement plan. It’s the gateway to an exit. An employee is usually doomed from when he steps into the program. I wonder how many are in the mental state to pull through it with shining colors. I know many say that the resource was put in PIP for a reason – to provide him a fair chance before being kicked out – I disagree. This doesn’t work; at least not at my work place. Having a successful PIP convert is a rarity not only in my business unit but across the company and in many others too.

Which brings me to the question – Would you survive a PIP plan? Will you be able to take the pressure or would you use that time to look for opportunities outside?

How does your workplace handle this?


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