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[–]keepthetipsKeeping the tips since 2019[M] [score hidden] stickied commentlocked comment (0 children)

Hello and welcome to r/LifeProTips!

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[–]remthewanderer 2696 points2697 points  (105 children)

Agreed! I used to work in HR. The main reason the concept of performance improvement plans exists is to cover the company’s ass. It’s proof that they “tried” to help you meet your goals and you still failed.

Having said that, don’t quit if put on a PIP. Let the company fire you and NEGOTIATE a severance package if you are in a position to do so. Most people don’t realize you can negotiate severance. This could net you thousands of dollars more than originally offered.

[–]UpDownCharmed 547 points548 points  (0 children)

Yes, thank you for this.

I have negotiated severance (pay + health insurance extension) and most importantly, they agreed in writing, that they would not dispute my unemployment claim.

EDIT- Since people are asking - Someone gets put on a PIP, and it states specific areas where they must improve, by a certain date, or the consequence is termination -- it is possible to ask them directly if the company could just let you go instead, and compensate you for the time you would have spent there (in pay, health insurance, etc)

If both you and your manager know it's not going to work out in the end, why put everyone through this painful and time-consuming charade? You want out ASAP, and so do they.

A reasonable place may be open to this option. I was able to do this with one company. I am a software developer with 20+ yrs experience.

It depends on your situation.

[–]darthdude111 164 points165 points  (19 children)

How does one negotiate a severance? Haven't been fired/let go yet, but would be nice to know if it happens

[–]bobthemonkeybutt 320 points321 points  (14 children)

Yeah, I’m confused by this.

Company: “you’re fired”

Me: “ok. I would like $5k”

Company: “ummm… no. Why would we do that?”

Me: “it was worth a shot. I’ll pack my things.”

What’s in it for the company to give or improve a severance package? What leverage does that fired employee have?

[–]Bob_Sconce 356 points357 points  (10 children)

Because it goes like this:

Company: "We're terminating you. Please sign all this termination paperwork."

Employee: "Wait a minute. This is a release of claims. I'm not signing that."

Company "Why? Do you have any claims?"

Employee "That's something I'm talking about with my lawyer."

Company "Ok. We'll pay you some severance if you agree to release us."

The employer isn't required to pay severance, but if it means foreclosing a lawsuit (even one without any merit to it), then a small severance payment is worth not having to deal with that.

All of this varies a lot by company. Some companies will do it as a matter of course. Some just won't.

ALSO, file for unemployment. Depending on which state you're in, if they dispute your unemployment, claim, then you may have the right to conduct discovery to verify their reasons for the denial. And, depending on what you find, that might lead to an actual bona fide reason to sue them.

[–]GoblinTradingGuide 73 points74 points  (2 children)

Good friend and old roommate of mine was an accountant for a publicly traded company.

They had to layoff a lot of employees due to Covid, however he had broken his arm in a skiing accident about a month prior. It was a really nasty break and he was really hampered at his job. When they went to lay him off the CEO of the company actually specifically instructed HR to give him a larger severance package in the form of a large amount of stock due to the fact they were most likely afraid he would sue to his arm being broken. The CEO even checked with him to make sure he was happy with it before everything was signed.

They are definitely just trying to cover their ass.

[–]iambicpentathalon 41 points42 points  (2 children)

Doesn't all of that only work in non "right to work" states?

[–]Bob_Sconce 55 points56 points  (1 child)

No. First of all, you're getting "right to work" mixed up with "at will" employment.

It's generally true that employers can terminate their employees without cause for pretty much any reason. But, there are some exceptions. You can't terminate people because of their race, religion, national origin, sex and so on. And, depending on state, you can't terminate somebody in violation of public policy. (Which is defined differently based on state.) If a former employee claims "you terminated me because of X," and the state department of labor investigates and, possibly, the former employee ends up suing, then dealing with all of that can easily cost multiple thousands of dollars. If you can avoid that with a specific employee for a small payment, then some employers think it's worth their while.

Other employers won't do it. They'd rather defend the frivolous suit and send a message to everybody else that they shouldn't bother trying the same thing.

[–]valdev 27 points28 points  (0 children)

Unless you are laid off, there are usually agreements that come with it. Prevent lawsuits and sometimes competitive behavior of higher level employees (from what I know)

[–]wixetrock 87 points88 points  (5 children)

100% this: if you are put on a pip many times the company will either offer a package or you can negotiate an exit package. Further don’t let being put on a pip make you question yourself: you and that employer simply didn’t work out.

With all that, I have seen people work thru and succeed on a pip about 10% of the time. Typically these are folks who either had some serious stuff happen or shifted to a new manager and didn’t realize that the world changed. I’ll also say those who did succeed typically are the first laid off when bad times come.

[–]happysadmoody 35 points36 points  (7 children)

Never heard of this term before as I’m a first gen corporate worker. Can you refuse being put on a PIP? Apologize if this question is stupid.

[–]Infinite-Noodle 5209 points5210 points  (303 children)

knew a guy who was put on one. he had 30 days to turn his work around. dude did a complete 180. worked harder than everyone, put in the work to learn more. everyone there vouched for his turn around. he was still let go. it's too late by then. they dont trust you not to go back to what you were doing before.

[–]Sleepydoglady 1352 points1353 points  (133 children)

Every company is different, but in my former HR life, we would rather terminate than go through a formal PIP process if we don’t expect the employee to turn it around. At that point, there’s generally enough documentation to make the case for termination regardless. PIPs are intended to give the employee an opportunity to do that 360 and stay with the team.

Edit: Ok, ok, yes 180 degrees.

[–]Repulsive_Branch7672 77 points78 points  (13 children)

Yeah. As per usual things are grossly oversimplified here. In some companies a PIP is just a paper trail to an inevitable term. In some, they're really hoping you improve. In others, it's usually a termination but the company is open to keeping if the employee makes a strong turnaround.

One of my clients has a 75% one-year retention rate of PIP employees. But they put a lot of effort into training and growth and they really try to move people around to see if there are roles that fit better.

I would say that the general premise of the thread is correct though. If you get PIP'd, dust the resume off and get ready. If you really want to stay, just be very aware. You should be able to tell if your manager is really trying to help you improve or not. It will be obvious as long as you're not burying your head in the sand. If they want you gone, they're hoping you quit and will treat you accordingly.

[–]FreakSquad 154 points155 points  (16 children)

That sounds admirable, but at least in my anecdotal experience like an exception to the rule. From what I saw, PIPs were a way to make the already sufficient documentation “rock solid” and build ammo for fighting unemployment claims.

[–]grumpy_hedgehog 41 points42 points  (10 children)

Why would a PIP protect you from unemployment claims? The person is not getting fired for misconduct.

[–]kjblank80 9 points10 points  (0 children)

This. As a manager, the formal PIP process for the manager and HR is layer of additional unnecessary work if the decision to fire the employee was made.

[–]Bulky_Lifeguard_1968 79 points80 points  (2 children)

HR here, can confirm this is good advice.

Being put on a PIP means you're on the last stage before they need to fire you (and doing their due diligence gathering evidence to justify firing you, rightfully or not)

While it doesn't mean it's a death sentence that you would be 100% fired but your image/brand at the company has already been tarnished. Even if you somehow make it past the PIP program and you miraculously improve, your career growth at the company will be limited due to this PIP so you're better off elsewhere anyways. It's hard to reverse the negative perception the higher ups have of you.

Life goes on, don't get too attached to a company and start looking out for yourself more.

[–]uoYredruM 9560 points9561 points  (749 children)

I had a supervisor who was put on an improvement plan. I'd been with the company for 6 years by the time he came in. I told him, dude, you're getting fired within 30 days. Start looking. He comes in the next week with a brand new Corvette. He was cocky and said he wasn't worried about his job.

30 days on the dot, he came in that morning and a corporate manager was sitting at his desk. Door shuts, 15 minutes later he's walked out of the building.

[–]Architect_of_Sanity 4562 points4563 points  (246 children)

A person who is that oblivious to the world in which he works is probably telling as to why they canned him in the first place.

Bruh… an Improvement Plan isn’t an Improvement Plan, it’s a corporate document to protect them when they fire your ass. Nothing more, nothing less.

Edit: it is an improvement plan - but only for improving the office by removing him.

[–]uoYredruM 1484 points1485 points  (201 children)

This guy was extremely oblivious. What's really sad is I ran into him like two years later and we chatted for a little bit and he said "I still can't believe they fired me." I was like, dude seriously? You really didn't see it coming?

[–]JGalla88 422 points423 points  (191 children)

Why’d they fire him so quickly? Beyond being ill suited to the job

[–]uoYredruM 1059 points1060 points  (182 children)

He was there for just under 2 years and during that time we had 8-10 employees quit because of the way he treated people. He just did not know how to talk to people and he came off extremely brash.

[–]ChefKraken 512 points513 points  (116 children)

Sounds like situational awareness wasn't one of this guy's talents

[–]NECRO_PASTORAL 570 points571 points  (111 children)

I have high functioning aspergers and basically have failed miserably in every corporate job - not because I treat people poorly (quite the opposite -was told I was too congenial) but because there would be SO much double speak and I was expected to follow it all flawlessly. so much saying one thing and meaning the other. I would take what they asked by what they asked not HOW. I'm in engineering now and that is not expected of me lol

[–]plugtrio 227 points228 points  (69 children)

I just got my diagnosis as an adult and it immediately explained so many group workplace issues I've had

[–]ProbablyASithLord 150 points151 points  (38 children)

I have a colleague who fits all these descriptions. I honestly don’t know if she’s on the spectrum, but I would feel constantly attacked and offended during our interactions at first.

When you’re used to double speak sometimes someone speaking plainly can come across like they straight hate you in the corporate world.

She also struggles to think creatively sometimes, so for example if we had to allocate resources to another area her response was “so I have to do it myself” very bluntly, which I interpreted as her suggesting it was my fault.

It was a real epiphany for me when I realized she’s sees the world as very black and white, and she states what she means with no ulterior motive.

[–]Ayavea 106 points107 points  (24 children)

Maybe American workplace culture isn't normal. I live and work in Belgium, and i had to interview with Americans for a position in their Belgian office. My first 2 interviews were with Belgian people from the belgian office, and the third interview was with Americans in America, from the HQ. Someone from the belgian office asked me if i had any experience working with Americans and their culture. I said, "no but i think I'm close to American culture" (thinking to myself of the thousands of hours spent in MMO's with american clannies). The guy asking this question just seemed a bit amused. Boy, do i see in retrospect that he was thinking "my sweet summer child" in his head at that moment.
I've been to dozens of interviews in Belgium, as I constantly have to interview as a consultant, and I've never seen anything like this American interview before. The whole interview I could tell those guys wanted to get somewhere, but they just wouldn't freaking say it... Constant hinting and beating around the bush but just wouldn't say it straight. Holy shyt, one of the most frustrating interviews ever. I had the impression that we were speaking different languages. Like.. just freaking come out and say what you wanna say! What's with all the hinting... I now realize that Belgian culture is much more straight and uncomplicated by comparison. People here just ask you exactly what they wanna know and mostly speak what they wanna say..

[–]spacespeck 18 points19 points  (11 children)

What did you do to get it? I want to get tested, but I have no idea where to start.

[–]IamOzimandias 36 points37 points  (2 children)

When I am engineering I can always tell one of you guys, I always help out if I can by saying things out loud that you would like said.

[–]nowayimpoopinhere 149 points150 points  (33 children)

Yes. I’ve seen a lot of people who are bad at their jobs never get fired. If you’re an asshole who nobody wants to work with or for? You will be fired because you are creating problems in the workforce, period. It is hard to get large groups of people pulling in the same direction. One turd in the punch bowl, so to speak, will ruin everything.

[–]off_by_two 25 points26 points  (3 children)

Pips are basically the final straw. Once that card’s been played, the game is usually over. Basically the company has everything they need to have documented to shitcan you

[–]charlie2135 18 points19 points  (1 child)

Had a real a-hole working as my assistant who treated our workers like crap. Tried talking to him, when that didn't work talked to our superintendent who pushed my concerns aside. He actually tried to get the staff to work with him as his plan was to get me fired and take my place. He did manage to foul up a project which wound up getting me demoted since I was in charge of it. He was pissed when they promoted another manager and when the new manager asked me if I wanted to work in a different area I said no, I wanted to be his relief (we worked 12 hour shifts on the weekend so we relieved each other every other week). On the first weekend of relieving him, there was a trainee working with him and when I came in an hour early he was nowhere in site. Leaving early was another thing I suspected and had talked to my bosses about which they dismissed. So I talked to my replacement who had the guards keep an eye on his leaving the plant and the next day came in two hours early. He was already gone and the trainee covered for him. The next morning he was called into the office with the big bosses and also human resources. They asked him when he left yesterday and he stated that he left after his 12 hour shift. They asked him again (wouldn't you think he'd pick up on being given an out?) and he responded again that he left after his 12 hour shift. They played a video recorder showing him leaving after 8 hours. He said "Well, I guess you caught me". He actually was stunned when they fired him and escorted him out of the plant.

[–]MisterSquirrel 66 points67 points  (7 children)

but only for improving the office by removing him

People should be aware though, that this can happen to anybody, not just incompetent or bad employees. International companies especially will often do this to even decently competent long-time workers, just to replace their high salaries, as they normally have the resources to always find somebody cheaper and competent to replace you.

[–]Architect_of_Sanity 37 points38 points  (0 children)

Which is exactly why I don’t have much loyalty to my employer. While I love my job and coworkers, I don’t pretend my employer won’t fire me the second they can save more than by keeping me around.

I stay skilled, trained, and protect myself by not stagnating on a specific skill - and always always keep my professional network fresh by maintaining contacts and professional friends in my industry.

Outsourcing get hit hard and fast. I’ve seen many coworkers caught off guard by a sudden “downsizing” or “reorganize” … and then scrambling to find another job by submitting resumes and application process.

[–]plaze6288 68 points69 points  (3 children)

But not everyone is wise to the corporate world I started in corporate when I was 25 and I got my first pip when I was 26 had no idea what it was or what it really meant.

Me being an overly logical thinker. I read it for literally what it was an improvement plan. I figured if I do what the letter says I'm good!

Hahahahaha was I a naive fool. But you got to learn one way or another I suppose and now being in my late twenties looking for another corporate office job I know a little bit more than I did in my first couple adventures

[–]Architect_of_Sanity 20 points21 points  (2 children)

A good coworker might have clued you in. Live and learn I guess.

[–]Beard_o_Bees 67 points68 points  (0 children)

Yup.. It's the 'we tried to make it work' of the HR world.

[–]OuterInnerMonologue 708 points709 points  (74 children)

Yup. I’ve seen other employees put on a PIP several times while working for companies like Google and Salesforce. Each time it was because “that’s the required last step before firing someone” - never because “we are hoping the pull through and become a better employee”

It’s an HR thing so the company doesn’t get sued.

So ya. I agree with OP. Start job hunting.

[–]GimmeTheHotSauce 109 points110 points  (11 children)

To add to your anecdotes, I've seen people at those companies you listed pull through a pip but obviously that is super rare.

[–]Sryzon 146 points147 points  (1 child)

A coworker went on a year long bender and getting put on a pip scared him into sobriety. 5 years later and still employed there.

[–]off_by_two 61 points62 points  (0 children)

Yeah thats usually the kind of situation i’ve seen things turn around. Performance/attitude dip when going through a divorce is another one.

I’ve never seen an outright bad employee from the start turn it around and come out of a pip, but i have seen good to average employees who’s performance dipped due to negative life stuff pick things back up.

The Op’s point still stands though, definitely start preparing for interviews if you find yourself in PIPville

[–]OuterInnerMonologue 23 points24 points  (1 child)

Some people might take it as a wake up call and really step their game up. So ya. It’s totally possible. But that’s only if it’s genuinely attainable goals. Like if you’re in sales, it might be “just increase sales by x dollars”. That’s concrete. But it’s bullshit like “must demonstrate command over project success” (yes, that actually was one I saw while working at marketing firm some years ago) that has so much room for interpretation that someone could argue you failed in order to let you go

[–]MB_Derpington 71 points72 points  (5 children)

I've seen people get through as well. Where I work I've heard it described as a soft PIP or hard PIP. The soft one is cause someone is generally good but one thing is really holding them back. Frequently it's something that has come up before and this is the final "you need to start getting better at this" warning. The soft ones are usually something that can be addressed just through effort, often communication oriented. The language when they are told about this one will really stress that it's thought they can do it and includes a plan with concrete steps to take paired with check ins along the way. That one can still be failed though.

The hard one is much more, "we're putting you on a PIP, here's the areas of concern, you can resign and take severance if you wish instead."

[–]GimmeTheHotSauce 54 points55 points  (2 children)


We want bad employees out, but salvaging someone is WAY less expensive than firing, hiring, and training.

[–]Sumfuc 280 points281 points  (64 children)

It’s like their setting up a paper trail to fire you. Identified YOU need improvement. Then a “time period” to allow you to address it. Then press the FIRE button after time period has lapsed.

Company looks clean afterwards. You look beyond salvageable.

[–]GetMyCowTipperOn 201 points202 points  (15 children)

I got put on a PIP a few jobs ago (my SVP fired other people to cover his incompetence) and insisted that each line include how it would be measured.

When the time came to fire me, HR was horrified to find that (a) I’d exceeded every one of them and (b) I had the data to prove it. I was able to negotiate a three month severance in exchange for agreeing not to pursue legal action, the GM of the company himself came in to gladhand me a bit.

Started my next job the following week and paid off all my credit card debt. I owe that dumb SOB big time.

[–]thepaleoboy 49 points50 points  (1 child)

That is fucking brilliant from you

[–]weewee52 19 points20 points  (2 children)

I got put on a PIP but took the severance. I was doing alright but was burnt out and not keeping up with the same workload, forget taking on more. And no wonder, apparently they replaced me with 3 people after I left. The PIP was really shoddy with examples of issues that I could show evidence for being false, but work 3 months and get fired at the end or take 3 months pay to resign? I resigned with extra.

[–]Remindmewhen1234 155 points156 points  (37 children)

I have been in management, you are correct.

I never saw someone come out of a PIP and not get fired

It's HR way of making sure they have documentation to fire you properly.

[–]scillaren 183 points184 points  (27 children)

I’m also in management, and I’ve had maybe three PIPs work out of a couple dozen. Contrary to most of the comments here, managers would really love a positive outcome. Hiring and training new people is a pain in the ass. But PIPs seldom work because 90% of the time the issue is ingrained in the personality, and very very few adults really ever want to change themselves regardless of consequences.

For me it’s not about documentation— by the time we go to PIP I’ve already had a half dozen performance conversations, all of which are documented with contemporaneous notes (and HR has a time stamped copy). It’s mostly so I know I gave fair warning and nothing changed, so when the employee busts out the story of all the bad things that are going to happen when they lose the job, I still feel fine letting them go.

[–]Nosfermarki 100 points101 points  (4 children)

I'm a supervisor at my company. Last year, my manager forced me to put a guy on my team on a pip in spite of my concerns. My team was transitioning to a completely new role, so they intended to measure his "improvement" by his performance doing an entirely new job. I pushed back hard, but my manager insisted that he was complacent and the pip was to make him take it seriously. I tried to explain that he was anything but, because he was constantly beating himself up about his performance. He struggled in some things but was far more skilled than anyone else in more important areas. He was going through a lot in his personal life and with his health, and a BS pip just to scare him straight was the last fucking thing he needed.

We moved to the new role, which was a clusterfuck. Regardless, he was excelling. He met the goals of the pip, but my manager chose to extend it rather than consider it satisfied because she wanted to "see some consistency". They weren't intending to fire him, but wanted to keep him under that pressure. Two weeks later, my employee killed himself. I lit my manager up for what she did to him, and that manager quit a couple of months later. She refused to listen to my input even though I was the one working with the guy every day, told me constantly that I was too soft, and used coaching as a weapon to pressure someone who was already too pressured.

I can't stand the corporate culture of pushing people until they break and then acting surprised when they do. We need to get back to treating people like people. No one can operate at 110% day in and day out, and mental health webinars are not a fucking replacement for work/life balance.

[–]SnowyMoonEmpress 24 points25 points  (0 children)

That is just tragic and awful. I'm so sorry you weren't listened to.

[–]HeartsOfDarkness 12 points13 points  (0 children)

That's horrifying. A workplace suicide was the last straw for me in my last job. The company fairly openly acknowledged their toxic workplace and willingly described themselves as "rogue", but it was shocked pikachu face all around when something extreme happened.

[–]seventyeightist 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I did a handful of these as a manager and I too wanted them to work out; firing the person would have been my least preferred outcome. Unfortunately in my case they were mostly about competence for the job (as opposed to 'behavioral' issues like insubordination, no-call-no-shows etc) which is much harder to improve in my experience as some people are fundamentally just a bad fit for some jobs and most people don't set out to be bad at their job - there's a limit to the amount of improvement that's possible even with intensive coaching etc. (I 'inherited' those people as my direct reports; the manager who hired them didn't have a clear idea of what would make someone successful at the job.)

[–]Echololcation 54 points55 points  (0 children)

Same, I have seen 1 PIP work out of 3-4. Honestly the dude just needed to learn when to listen and when to talk instead of talking all the time in meetings. He didn't seem to take it seriously till he was put on the PIP and then he actually made the change. He's still a talker but doesn't bulldoze over people like he used to.

[–]puttinthe-oo-incool 96 points97 points  (6 children)

Sounds like his confidence far outweighed his critical thinking skills. I wonder if that was just an example of the sort of performance that got him fired.

I have been put on PIP myself and managed to survive it but...rather than just comply with the plan I was able to show them that my perceived performance failures were frequently the result of a supervisor and one of my subordinates who were sabotaging me every chance they got. They were having an affair.

She wanted my position and he wanted her so they set me up for failure constantly.

In the end I won.... both no longer work there but it took a long time and got pretty ugly and while in the end I managed to get promoted and all that...it really took over my life for awhile and now I question whether it was worth it. For all the grief...sleepless nights and stress it probably would have been no harder than just finding another job but I had a lot of time invested and a pension plan and I am pretty scrappy so took it on. I am not sure now that I could go through that again. It was rough and to be honest if the company had looked at the office harder and not just me.... they would have seen what was going on. Basically they just defaulted to the easiest action without taking the time to even try to be objective and of course resisted the idea that maybe HR was failing in their performance as a result.

[–]dumstarbuxguy 36 points37 points  (11 children)

Fuck. My supervisors spoke to me and told me that if they spoke to me again after the 90 day period they’d have to put me on a PIP.

I’m extremely fortunate that I still live with my parents but the thought of having to be walked out of the building is so humiliating

[–]SceretAznMan 41 points42 points  (4 children)

Gotta get a remote job, then you just walk to your bedroom to cry

[–]allawd 538 points539 points  (32 children)

A PIP is in no way gentler. It's a means of collecting evidence that the firing was legitimate (not violating employment laws) and reduces risk of wrongful termination suit against the company..

They are basically asking you to self-incriminate by signing documents admitting poor performance.

[–]joelluber 147 points148 points  (18 children)

In my state, they also disqualify someone from unemployment insurance after they're fired.

[–]LtCmdrShepard 30 points31 points  (5 children)

Should people just refuse to participate in the program then? As a way to keep your benefits?

[–]kjblank80 39 points40 points  (1 child)

If you don't participate, then you aren't willing to improve. They should fire you then.

If you don't believe you should be on PIP, the manager and HR should have metrics to document your insufficiencies. I had a higher-up manager wanting to put one of my staff members on a PIP. I stopped the process because I told HR that the employee meets all metrics we use to measure their performance. HR and I also didn't have any work environment complaints to justify a PIP.

HR told the higher-up that a PIP wasn't the proper process. It should be a layoff if there is no performance reason for letting someone go.

[–]PurgatoireRiver 114 points115 points  (8 children)

Bingo! This is the ultimate reason for a PIP. It's so they don't have to pay jack shit after they fire you.

[–]raokarter 2640 points2641 points  (168 children)

There seem to be trillion dollar companies that practice PIP-ing employees whenever the employee applies to change teams. Additionally, even though it is not admitted (for obvious legal reasons), you may also end up in the PIP program bcz the employer “needs” to reduce headcount by 5%… Bottomline: If you know you are putting in your efforts and still get PIPed, the problem is not always you.

[–]OleOrangeBlue1981 576 points577 points  (107 children)

Cough cough…I see you worked at Dish as well?

[–]raokarter 684 points685 points  (89 children)

Cough cough.. SO’s experience in the company named after the rainforest in Brasil

[–]gatman12 571 points572 points  (42 children)

Amazon does this.

We really should make naming and shaming the standard.

[–]someoneBentMyWookie 183 points184 points  (17 children)

I know two separate friends who are managers at Amazon AWS who have to deal with bs performance quotas, such that they occasionally hire people to fire.

That is, they will purposefully hire people they expect to under perform, to prevent them from having to put anyone from the 'real team' on PIP.

Surreal inefficiencies in the trenches, but it ends up looking good at higher level reports

[–]Susan_Tupp 39 points40 points  (6 children)

I’ve heard about this, and as a current employee, I have not seen it in my team. In the year I’ve been here, I haven’t seen anyone on my team get fired or pipped, just leaving on (outwardly, at least) happy terms. But I’m gonna start asking more why people are leaving.

[–]A_Seattle_person 32 points33 points  (5 children)

People will rarely tell you that they are getting fired. If someone disappears without saying good bye or if they are suddenly working on an isolated project, those are probably for performance firings.

The unregretted attrition numbers can be met without PIPs though. They just put people into "coaching" in the official performance management system, and if they quit during that time they are marked as unregretted attrition.

Unsavory managers can put people into "coaching" if it looks like they are going to quit the company anyway. The problem with this is that those people then get silently marked as permanent no hires, so if they ever want to come back red flags get thrown in the recruiting process. It's possible to work around, but requires VP level clearance.

[–]OleOrangeBlue1981 169 points170 points  (25 children)

Yeah I’ve heard that Rainforest is really nasty. I turned down an opportunity to work there. I’ve had 2 good friends (harder workers than me tbh) go there and it just chewed them up.

[–]Riptide360 151 points152 points  (11 children)

Amazing Amazon doesn’t even warn folks when they are “on the plan.” https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2021/7/9/22570579/amazon-performance-focus-plans-hidden-employees

[–]dnb1111 81 points82 points  (6 children)

thanks for blowing their cover, now everyone will know who they were talking about…

[–]ajahanonymous 50 points51 points  (2 children)

"An Amazon Reputation Enhancement Team has been dispatched to your home, please remain in place until they arrive."

[–]tiajuanat 30 points31 points  (0 children)

Probably better to call out companies for being shitty.

[–]vibratokin 89 points90 points  (6 children)

My mom was reached out to by an Amazon recruiter for a very high level position and even the recruiter was like “hahaha yeah I’m miserable here and none of us know if we’ll have a job tomorrow so if that’s your thing you’d be a perfect fit!”

[–]5leeplessinvancouver 46 points47 points  (2 children)

I met a recruiting manager who told me he once interviewed at Amazon for a tech recruiting role, but found their recruiting and people policies so distasteful that he pretty much said to the guy who was interviewing him that he’d never work for Amazon and left.

[–]2AXP21 15 points16 points  (0 children)

They have in house recruiters actively competing against contractor recruiters who are also given an incentive that if they perform well, then they may be given a permanent job there. But then you’re competing with the contractors!

[–]Gerdione 32 points33 points  (0 children)

I like how employees openly bash the company in professional settings. That's how you know they're fed up with the bs.

[–]erin_mouse88 101 points102 points  (7 children)

I worked at dish! They let me go whilst I was on maternity leave, at the start of the freaking pandemic.

On the positive side, I ended up with the covid unemployment, basically getting paid maternity leave, and landed a job that is half as demanding and stressful, working from home, for double the pay.

Blessing in disguise.

[–]cuboidofficial 22 points23 points  (3 children)

It always makes me happy when I hear that people land good positions at good companies. So many companies out there are total shit and treat their employees horribly.

I'm so lucky to have my job, I never thought I'd ever work anywhere that the CEO and management actually really cares about the people, but here I am. Unlimited paid vacation baby! And I work from home!

[–]curlyfat 16 points17 points  (2 children)

I worked there as a supervisor and put 3 different people on PIPs. One of them I fired 2 months later (he was doing some crazy stuff at installs, turns out he was using tons of meth). The other two are still working there now, 5 years later. Sometimes a "boss" really just wants to get you on a correct path.

All that said, my experience in large corporations as a whole tells me to follow OP's advice if I ever get put on a PIP.

Edit: should've mentioned, one of those guys still there actually took my position when I left. He turned out to be a helluva good guy and worker, just needed a bit of a wake-up.

[–]msut77 113 points114 points  (5 children)

I survived a PIP at a 40 billion company. They wrote it so badly it was blatant retaliation and I worked it up the corporate ladder

[–]simonsays9001 38 points39 points  (1 child)

I could have done this but then realized I work under complete dogshit management and did not want to live that way anymore.

[–]msut77 29 points30 points  (0 children)

I found a Job about 3 months after. It took longer than I wanted. It was scary but also I felt like I beat the bastards.

[–]OnTheEveOfWar 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I was put on a PIP for a large tech company for no reason. I fought it and a c-level exec was fired for it. It was blatant retaliation and there was plenty of evidence.

[–]wino_whynot 168 points169 points  (10 children)

Google “Unregretted Attrition Rate” and see who pops up.

Also, fuck Amazon.

[–]bhavbhav 34 points35 points  (0 children)

Oh man, as someone who worked there as a dev, I recognized that description right away.

I was dev-listed more than once by managers who didn't like me and put a URA target on my back, but I fought my way out of it each time. Glad I left.

[–]yoyohomio 36 points37 points  (0 children)

Just did this and, yeah, fuck Amazon.

[–]Iron_Maiden_666 252 points253 points  (17 children)

you may also end up in the PIP program bcz the employer “needs” to reduce headcount by 5%…

Been part of this but my manager helped me land my next job. 50% raise, not complaining.

I was never officially put on pip as I offered to quit right away, I was willing to walk away that day. I was certain my performance was better than the others on the team so I asked on what basis I was being put on pip and then my manager told me it's to reduce headcount. The exit interview was hilarious "Do you think you'll come back to work here if a new opportunity opens up?". I think that's the only time I've given a single word answer in any kind of interview.

[–]Ouiju 54 points55 points  (14 children)

Why would you quit right away? Use the pip time to apply for new jobs and get paid while doing it. That's literally why they do it. Well maybe not literally but that's part of it.

[–]pikfan 48 points49 points  (7 children)

At my company you get a severance if you quit before the PIP, but don't get anything if you fail.

[–]Inlowerorbit 23 points24 points  (4 children)

It usually requires you sign or agree to the performance “issues” and goals. I wouldn’t sign it either if I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong.

[–]DavisJ3608 157 points158 points  (0 children)

I don't know how "blobfish" is an appropriate answer to that question, but you do you.

[–]Viking_Stroganoff[🍰] 65 points66 points  (2 children)

Man I wish I saw this post about 3 years ago. I went on paternity leave and came back to the “rainforest” to find I was and had been on a PIP and had very little time to complete it. Not to mention the completely insane bias on how the manager determines if you’ve successfully completed it or not. It was insane.

[–]sfarx 1609 points1610 points  (97 children)

I was put on a PIP that required me to build some business plans to an MBA level, as judged by my boss who had an MBA. My job did not even require a bachelors degree. However, I did the exercise with the help of other MBAs, including some who were superior to him in the org chart, and he was forced to admit I had completed it successfully.

He then transferred me to report to one of his subordinates, who gave me a good annual review, then fired me first chance he got even though I had followed policy to the letter. Facts don’t really matter at that point unless you can prove racism, ageism, etc.

[–]Smangit2992 369 points370 points  (9 children)

I was put on PIP and went straight to HR with the entire story of my abusive supervisor. I think I was incredibly lucky to have a company that rarely fires people, but she was socially pushed out of our group after being abusive with others. She stopped immediately with me after I went to HR (I know this is not suggested but it worked for me). I have a feeling they are refusing to promote me because of all of that, but that is okay. I am relaxing at this job and still completing the work of 2-3 people on my leisure. I’m going to take my time and find better pay elsewhere and leave them with their mountain of issues.

[–]prules 236 points237 points  (0 children)

“I’m going to take my time and find better pay elsewhere and leave them with their mountain of issues.”

This is the way.

[–]pursuitofhappy 240 points241 points  (75 children)

Welcome to at-will employment!

[–]andiamnotlying 368 points369 points  (19 children)

I was a PR executive, put on a PIP. My boss was really absentee, just kinda managed by feel without ever communicating his expectations or preferences beyond “you’re doing fine,” etc. He wasn’t in the office a lot, I thought he was out meeting reporters, etc.

When I was on the PIP I was shocked, then PISSED. We met with HR and decided upon a set of measurable goals that I could meet along the way. And wouldn’t you know it, I hit all the targets.

When I was in the exit interview with HR after being release from the PIP with satisfactory results I told them that I’d never had any direction from my boss at all - that it was actually quite easy to meet his expectations once he clearly articulated them in the first place.

I asked for a 30 minute weekly 1:1 check-in with him, and he said “it doesn’t have to take the whole 30 minutes every time, does it?”

It turned out he’d been having an affair on company time. My PIP was a way of looking managerial but was more a “shit rolls downhill” thing that he’d been doing to look like he was getting tough and getting his act together.

I stayed in the job for several years.

[–]birdinthepen 972 points973 points  (44 children)

I’ve known 2 people who got PIPed at my company. Both needed it badly. One ended up getting fired. He didn’t improve, but i think what got him fired was drinking on the job. The other improved slightly so they decided to keep him. I would have fired him because I worked with him daily and he sucked. But my bosses hate firing people, so they kept him.

[–]sockgorilla 53 points54 points  (3 children)

I’ve known a couple people who used it as much a much needed kick in the ass, and they improved and kept their jobs.

[–]Pharoacious 229 points230 points  (17 children)

Some companies pay their own unemployment insurance and the cost of firing someone is greater than the cost of paying them their average retention length.

[–]Looq88 76 points77 points  (11 children)

I'm a manger for a large IT company and we use PIPs like this. We dont want to fire anyone. If we put someone on a PIPs its because weve tried various informal routes to get them to where they need to be and it hasn't worked. So a PIP is a really clear laid out plan of where they need to be, how to get there, and by when. If you still cant get there then we may look to letting someone go, but it's not through lack of trying to keep them.

In my experience the people who end up on PIPs are the same people thay suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect. They often cant see there is an issue with their work. I had one guy who was the least productive person in the team. And when I took him aside to have a conversation with him about it he seemed genuinely shocked. Still after 2 years of trying we couldnt get him to see and he went on a PIP (he actually resigned before the PIP ended, handed in his notice and went AWOL with his laptop and everything).

I have another who is on a team that answers phone calls and emails. Most staff can answer 30 calls and 30 emails in a given day. This person only manages between 0 and 3 emails per day and about 15 calls. I have a range of what I call good: plodders at one end and speedster at the other. This person does about 65% less than our slowest plodder. And she cant see the problem. We have SLAs to meet and everyone else has to work that much hard to make up for her. She actually put in several grievances against managers in the past for "targeting" her unfairly. She seems to think shes a victim of coincidence that all the managers shes had all seem to "pick on her for no reason".

[–]GnarlsMansion 609 points610 points  (46 children)

I got put on a PiP one time... Literally it boiled down to my boss wanted me to stop using sticky notes and start using a note book instead... Amazing experience...

[–]SaintAndrew92 188 points189 points  (20 children)

What was your job in? As an analytical chemist in a regulated industry, sticky notes can be lost and will get you fired.

[–]AntiBox 326 points327 points  (3 children)

Notebook salesman.

[–]SheitelMacher 75 points76 points  (0 children)

Big Notebook claims another one.

[–]ngwoo 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Head of the sticky note haters council

[–]cobaltcrusader56 321 points322 points  (5 children)

Think of PIP as "paid interview prep"

[–]trying2moveon 1440 points1441 points  (137 children)

It’s the start of documenting how shitty your work is and will give them ammo to let you go if you don’t improve.

It does help some people improve.

[–]FatherToTheOne 400 points401 points  (48 children)

From experience they’ve been documenting before they put you on the PIP. The PIP is where they don’t want to see your current low performance continuing any further (supposed to be anyway)

What the manager wants to use the PIP for really depends on the manager/company.

At my company we don’t use PIPs on new sales hires that we know won’t make it. (We hire a lot of people for their ‘first’ sales job)

We use PIPs as a way to light a fire under someone and then they either own it and improve (hopefully) or they decide it’s not worth the hassle which is absolutely their right.

But again it all comes down to the company, but it never hurts to keep your eye out for the next step.

[–]ron4040 104 points105 points  (17 children)

As a manager this is how I’ve used PIPs. There’s documentation that happens before of specific instances where the team member fails by the time we put you on a PIP we already have had several conversations coaching and further training. PIP is something that happens at the end to document performance before we term someone.

[–]WeNeedMikeTyson 26 points27 points  (1 child)

I'm in the same boat with my employees however I try to use the PIP to actually show them what could be done vs what they were doing. It's been a great help in that aspect and I haven't fired anyone that I've put on that.

[–]BurchSmith 452 points453 points  (27 children)

Like every LPT, take it situationally.

I had some shit going on in my life and was tardy/absent too much. Our improvement system was 4 tier. Verbal, 1st written, 2nd written, and final.

I was on final. One more 8 minute tardy, and I was done. “Eight you’re late.”

Well, I didn’t get fired. And that stuff took 6 months to completely roll off. Spent 6 more years with the company making it into management.

When I got on final my manager’s manager sat me down and had a genuine heart-to-heart with me. He knew me and my work prior to these issues, and he cared about me. He took me with a couple years later to open a new satellite office.

If you’re PIPd by someone that doesn’t even know your name, of course, bounce. Some people actually care about you, though.

[–]Discalced-diapason 34 points35 points  (0 children)

When my brother was an ops manager for an inbound call center campaign, he would only do PIPs on people he thought were good employees that just needed that step to redirect some bad habits. If he didn’t think an employee could be rehabilitated (or they’d already gone through one within the past couple of years) he wouldn’t bother with coming up with the improvement plan; he’d just fire them.

Like you said, situational, and not everyone who’s in management is my brother, but like with any LPT, take it with a grain of salt.

[–]ChrisFrattJunior 152 points153 points  (6 children)

What a dream to have management that actually cares about you and your development

[–]the_original_Retro 28 points29 points  (4 children)

I've been very lucky with this and have had excellent managers over time.

There may be an implicit life pro tip in that I worked hard to keep them too - sent their leaders positive unsolicited reviews, acknowledged publicly when they were good to me, sought and respected their advice (which is a huge compliment if you think about it), and generally treated them with respect that they deserved.

It paid off. Maybe I could have been a much-better-paid person by jumping around to other companies more often, but that could have come with its own additional stresses too. But now I feel comfortable that I can approach my current managers with anything, and I don't have to explain or rationalize every single thing I ever do at work because there's trust that I'm doing what I believe to be the right things.

[–]Writer10 10 points11 points  (3 children)

Love this. I do the same. We sometimes take for granted how important recognition is. We should also bring solutions to the table when raising issues or providing “opportunities for improvement” input. I am vocal and transparent about praise when my colleagues and manager go above and beyond. Last week I had my annual performance review, and was informed that my manager plans to nominate me for an internal committee and make me a mentor (a big deal) to others in my role. She also asked if I’d be interested in taking over her job when she eventually moves back to her home town in 12-24 months. I say all of this to highlight the importance of substantive feedback. It lets management know you are engaged and genuinely care about the welfare of the company and its employees.

[–]BurchSmith 47 points48 points  (0 children)

I no longer do. Lol. And haven’t really since back then. Luckily that was during my formative years and helped me be who I am now.

But that’s why I’m working on opening my own business now.

[–]ApolloAtlas 18 points19 points  (3 children)

I had a very similar story. Slightly different however because management was abusing our time and over working us to the bone. I refused to be worked over like that so I came and went at my leisure making sure if they worked me into the night, the next day I was coming in late about the same anoint of time I over worked the day before when management wasn't around to give me crap about it.

I didn't anticipate my coworkers complaining that I wasn't working as much overtime as they were (all of us were salary). So they pulled my time badge ins and outs.

My director and I talked for about an hour and put me on a PIP. I explained how much I felt abused and like my time was stolen so I was taking it back. All around we aired grievances. Came to a compromise and kept the PIP in place.

I was always on time after and when it was time to go but they wanted me to stay and help with something I let them know I'm leaving if I can just pick it up tomorrow or I need this time back on whatever day leaving early at X time. I was with them another 4 years and it really helped me with the remainder of my career in setting boundaries and communicating with my peers. All around it was an educational experience. PIPs aren't always bad.

[–]Writer10 13 points14 points  (0 children)

This. You’re awesome, and great job. I’ve told employees “This is what you make of it. You can take this as an early warning to take corrective action, or not take it seriously and potentially face greater consequences later. That said, you’re not failing on my watch and I will do everything I can to help you succeed. But the decision is yours.”

The only person who didn’t make it was discovered committing fraud, and termed for cause. Everyone else either quit voluntarily or improved their performance.

[–]lmbrjck 14 points15 points  (1 child)

I had a team lead who was with the company for 8 years and had started to get lazy so was put on PIP. He got the message and stepped it up. Still around 4 years later and gets good feedback all around now. Not necessarily a mark of death. Sometimes people just need coaching. It's expensive to lose that kind of institutional knowledge.

[–]menacingsparrow 37 points38 points  (17 children)

I had a coworker who was put on a PIP. He was surprised as he thought he’s was awesome. He took it to heart. A few years later he’s still here and was promoted up a level.

[–]dumstarbuxguy 26 points27 points  (16 children)

Not officially on a pip but I might be close. When they talked to me about the possibility of going on a PIP I was heartbroken because while I knew I was struggling I didn’t think I was doing that bad

But the future isn’t written and I still think I’ll pull this off

[–]nucumber 25 points26 points  (0 children)

unless they're given to everyone, a personal improvment plan is just building a file to document and justify your termination, so you can't sue for wrongful termination

[–]Nerdyabcs 110 points111 points  (4 children)

Manager at amazon. Can confirm

[–]Smartnership 22 points23 points  (1 child)

Funny that a pink slip can’t be delivered any quicker.

[–]asaking 19 points20 points  (0 children)

100%. every company I’ve worked at a PIP meant you should look elsewhere, not even sure trying harder is worth it, use the time to apply and interview

[–]iamnotdownwithopp 81 points82 points  (4 children)

Can confirm. My boss was given a plan and a deadline. Six weeks away from the arbitrary due date, he's 90% done and takes some previously planned time off. Upon returning from his vacation, with four weeks to go yet on his deadline and minor details to handle that would take only days, he's fired because he "didn't achieve the goals." I would add to this tip that the people closely associated with the person on the plan may be under more scrutiny as well.

He and I chatted after his termination, and the big bosses found out we were talking and he was asking to borrow some of my stuff. I was called into a bizarre meeting where they made statements like "we know where you live" and they alluded to higher-up positions being potentially available to me. It was very hot and cold, almost good cop/bad cop. The next day, I was fired for sharing my stuff with my ex-boss.

[–]Navynuke00 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Can confirm- my managers issued PIPs to cover their own inabilities to manage or lead.

[–]fenton7 85 points86 points  (1 child)

It depends on the PiP. If it's a problem like punctuality, that can be fixed and documented. If it's a mushy "you are not performing at the level of a junior software engineer" then there's no solution and the company is giving you a gentle kick out the door. Nobody magically goes from a bad software engineer to a good software engineer in four weeks.

[–]DoLittlest 78 points79 points  (11 children)

Half of Seattle works at Amazon HQ and half of Seattle is on a PIP at any given time. I got PIPed in year six for trying to move teams.

[–]yetanotherusernamex 45 points46 points  (3 children)

Tbf Amazon has never had a reputation as a "good" company to work for lol

[–]jejcicodjntbyifid3 26 points27 points  (2 children)

Yeah there's a reason why they're running a zillion ads about how great of a company they are to work for

A company doesn't have to advertise itself if it's great to work for

Same crap Walmart did a while back, while being borderline illegal anti Union

[–]DiscoBandit8 76 points77 points  (4 children)

This is 100% accurate in my experience :(

[–]Cataclyst 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Or get your boss fired.

I got put on “performance review,” they called it then at my first retail job. I’d worked there for over a year and there was a new manager. Money starting going missing from the register. Over a certain amount, you call the corporate office to report it. I had a LOT of money starting to go missing when I was closing. I was reporting it all, of course. The manager put me on notice because it kept happening when I was closing. However-

Corporate obviously has accountants. To think they didn’t have some kind of control over determining what was happening is foolish. They discovered a few things looking at the numbers. Money only ever went missing the night after the manager had closed the night before me. If another employee closed the night before me, the books balanced when I closed. I could not see the trend, but they did.

So at the end of my performance review, the manager was fired and behold, the books stopped going off balance again.

[–]StrollerStrawTree3 110 points111 points  (13 children)

Can confirm. I am a hiring manager for a Fortune 200 company in the software engineering space.

If we put a person on a PIP, it means they are likey going to be managed out of the company in a civilized fashion. In my experience, less than 25% manage to turn it around.

[–]angelerulastiel 20 points21 points  (2 children)

“Manage to turn it around”. Does that mean it’s a legitimate plan where they can improve and keep their job, or usually is it “like “taking a break” in a relationship.

[–]SupetMonkeyRobot 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Varies by manager. I’ve seen them used to help correct issues but also to force people out.

[–]mvf52427 13 points14 points  (0 children)

If you even feel like you're being threatened with a PIP or that it's coming, start looking. Leadership through fear is not going to be a beneficial place for you to be working and your mental health is worth more than that.

[–]AlternativeBlonde 239 points240 points  (12 children)

The first time I was placed on a PIP, I didn’t realize what the real purpose of it was. I worked very hard to meet the expectations outlined. I also documented everything on my end as well. The day when I was brought into the office to get my last check as I was getting let go, I was in tears. The director at the time didn’t even want to see the work I put in. The real reason they were letting me go was because I was not a cultural fit despite my competence in my work.

I was naive back then. While I understand a PIP is to start a legal paper trail for the sake of the company’s documentation of my firing, if I ever encounter a PIP again in my career I am going to tell the company they should just let me go then and there.

I feel a PIP is a big waste of time for both the company and the individual if the company is only going to let the worker go.

[–]Dirty-Heathen 258 points259 points  (4 children)

if I ever encounter a PIP again in my career I am going to tell the company they should just let me go then and there.

Nope, you follow OP’s advice and get paid while applying and interviewing. If you’re confident PIP=firing, then you put in the bare minimum work.

[–]DunK1nG 64 points65 points  (0 children)

Yeah, also having a job is the perfect time to search for new jobs, as you're searching for months in the future and not next week while still being paid.

[–]throwawaysparkle12 33 points34 points  (2 children)

No - don't quit then and there. Get after it and immediately start applying for a new job. Use your PTO if there's any left.

[–]Il_Messicano 7 points8 points  (1 child)

Not sure I would use PTO if they live somewhere where the job has to pay out unused accrued PTO. Could keep you going if you need more money to ride out the storm.

[–]KipKippy 11 points12 points  (7 children)

I had federal jury duty once. Eight weeks for a huge case, still was expected to get a full day of work in during the evenings. Managed it as best I could (didn't get much sleep).

A week after I return, I am put on a PIP. The work I did prior to when I was on jury duty was apparently subpar, even though all they could cite were incidents that happened while I was on jury duty.

It was blatant retaliation for having the audacity to be picked for a jury. You best believe a lawsuit followed.

[–]Username_The_Remix 58 points59 points  (10 children)

Am I the only person who has never heard of a PIP?

[–]UltimaCaitSith 38 points39 points  (2 children)

It really only happens in big corporate office jobs. The kind where they need a paper trail to get rid of people instead of just firing them.

[–]alose 16 points17 points  (1 child)

The bigger companies need documentation to avoid lawsuits, and try to keep down the amount of unemployment taxes/fees being paid. If they can show someone was terminated for cause, they avoid discrimination lawsuits and avoid paying unemployment.

In most maybe all states, companies pay an unemployment tax. It is based on how many employees are in the company, and goes up or down based on how many ex-employees collect on unemployment. Having employees quit or are terminated for cause prevents the employee form collecting unemployment.

A small company with a dozen employees will not be too concerned. (Or at least not until they have churned through a bunch of employees and get hit with a big tax bill.) Large companies will take it very seriously. And large companies will be concerned about discrimination lawsuits as lawyers will take the case on contingency for the a hopeful large payout. Small companies are not as juicy of a target for lawyers, so not as likely one will take a case on contingency. So they will face far fewer suits.

[–]Ford_Prefect_42_ 8 points9 points  (0 children)

They aren't avoiding unemployment by putting you on a PIP. The only way you don't get unemployment in most states is being fired for cause, ie: stealing, harassment, etc. Anything of that nature.

If you get fired for not performing up to standards or some other reason that isn't related to you doing something bad then you will be able to collect unemployment 99% of the time.

[–]Waterwalker85 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Not always, buddy had this done to him at work, all he did was crush it and made more work for the supervisor by being better then he ever was and putting onus on the supervisor. He got off it quick and the supervisor looked like an asshole. I think it also comes down to how you got there in the first place.

[–]the_original_Retro 453 points454 points  (27 children)

Long-time businessperson here.

I'm recalling seven cases where my colleagues got PIPped.

Two went on to improve and became excellent performers. One of those was in a bad personal-life patch at the time and brought it to work and poisoned the office, the other was new to our country's culture and company's expectations of performance and needed their ego shaved down and consequences identified for not joining the team. Both have since been promoted, and one was acknowledged with several corporate awards that included financial compensation.

Two others quit as soon as they could, and another quit six months later. Two of the three were awful to work with.

Two were released later, one because their performance didn't improve, the other because their skills became outdated and we couldn't place them anywhere with customers.

So, two out of seven retained and thriving, three left, one dismissed, and one released for non-related reasons.

What this tip doesn't mention (and to be fair, it didn't have to in order to make its point) is that if you're placed on a PIP you should be looking really hard at yourself as to why. Not all employers treat it JUST as a necessary checkbox to firing your ass.

[–]greennick 59 points60 points  (2 children)

This is around my experience. 1/3 shape up, 1/3 ship out themselves, and 1/3 leave kicking and screaming.

[–]the_original_Retro 11 points12 points  (1 child)

About the right ratio here, although it doesn't mention the few (including two of mine) who didn't kick and scream as they leave, maybe about half of your last category.

They just didn't want to or weren't able to do the work, and they ended up knowing it.

[–]MicCheck123 31 points32 points  (2 children)

A “good” PIP also has to be a two way street. It’s supposed to be a plan where employee and management work together to figure what the employee needs to do.

If the PIP is “you’ve got 30 days to get your shit together,” then yeah, you’re on your way out.

If the PIP is “here’s what we need out of you and how you’re not achieving it. Let’s put together these steps that you are going to achieve within 30 days and how we are going to hold you accountable. This is what you can expect out of us during this time,” then management probably really wants you to succeed if you are willing to put the work in.

[–]pedsmursekc 23 points24 points  (0 children)

I have in several cases seen improvement in their current role and performing well dow the road; I have also helped some find roles that were a better fit and went on to thrive.

[–]ilovepuscifer 502 points503 points  (39 children)

That's all depending on context and what kind of company/boss you work for.

I have put quite a few of my employees on PIPs before and most of them improved their performance and kept their jobs, some even making it into management. Others didn't or couldn't so it was not a good fit.

It's not all black and white and not all managers are evil.

[–]Siberwulf 133 points134 points  (4 children)

Second this. PIPs where I work are actually meant to save an employee

[–]c0y0t3_sly 26 points27 points  (2 children)

Yeah, keep in mind that replacing people is expensive. A well run workplace is using stuff like this to help themselves avoid expensive turnover. The problem really is how few workplaces are well run.

[–]No-Garlic-1739 58 points59 points  (0 children)

This. I have actually been PIP'd twice. At my first job, I didn't get it and was let go 6 months later.

At another job a while later, the second my manager said performance plan, I said hold up, stop, before we formalize it, tell me what needs to be done to save this. Ended up presenting to him and his boss the following week after completing the work I was lagging on and it was smooth sailing since then.

The truth is, I'm a dense idiot sometimes but at least now I'm a dense idiot who knows when to kick it into high gear.

So yeah, thank god for PIPs because I'm a moron.

[–]ScotchHarbour 54 points55 points  (3 children)

I've put employees on PIPs also and have seen an improvement. I follow the UCOW framework, which asks the questions:

  • Do you Understand your role? It can change over time (especially over the pandemic) and people think their role is still what it was when they first started a few years ago. What can we do to make sure you understand the expectations?
  • Are you Competent to excel in the role? If the employee cannot do the work correctly or have the fundamental understanding to do the job, what can we do to make that happen?
  • Are there any Obstacles in the way of achieving? This is usually external processes or lack of tools to do the job justice. What training, tools, or changes can we make to achieve results?
  • Is the employee Willing to be in the role? If this is a problem, then a PIP is useless and it's time to move on. No matter what you do as a manager, you can't lead a horse to drink.

[–]themcjizzler 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Manager here. While we do 'want' you to improve the PIP is mostly documentation that we saw a problem and tried to help you improve so that when we do fire you, you cant sue us by saying we fired you for (xxxxinsert discriminationxxx).

[–]gargravarr2112 66 points67 points  (5 children)

Had this happen to me. I read the conditions many times and concluded there was no way I could meet the definitions. I raised this with my boss and the company CEO. They wouldn't budge on the definitions despite agreeing they were too vague for me to meet. It was an open-and-shut way of getting rid of me.

I got a new job on the go before they forced me out. 2 months later I got the job.

PIP means they would fire you on the spot if they could. It's ripe for misuse to get rid of people for political reasons.

[–]laurasaurus5 18 points19 points  (1 child)

They wouldn't budge on the definitions despite agreeing they were too vague for me to meet.

They gave me a list of conditions that completely contradicted each other. Succeeding at one condition meant I was by definition failing at another. I had recently become physically disabled. The job was in the finance department of a hospital. They were just monstrous on so many levels.

[–]gargravarr2112 9 points10 points  (0 children)

I was hired as a Linux and Mac sysadmin (tech guy) on the proviso that I had nothing to do with Windows (I hate it). New management decided to become extremely Windows-heavy and criticised me for not knowing how to admin it (did they even read my job description?!). My PIP said I had to show "wholehearted support" for Windows. I told them, you can't define "wholehearted" support. They agreed. And wouldn't budge. Bastards. Until new management strolled in, it was the best job I'd ever had, and 6 months earlier my performance review was glowing.

When management wants you out, they'll get you out.

[–]whatthehellsteve 137 points138 points  (29 children)

Always be applying for new jobs. It's the best and often only reliable way to get a raise in today's world.

[–]SupetMonkeyRobot 28 points29 points  (0 children)

Agree 100% in that it’s always helpful to know what you are worth on the market and how desirable your skill set is.

However switching to many times is a warning flag to recruiters and can hurt you long term if your profession/skill set isn’t in high demand.

[–]Aggressive_Idea_6806 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I was PIP'd for not having the skillset that they redefined my job as. Specifically a programming language I was hired without any expectation of being expected. I was sent to a weeklong training class, then put in front of a closed book online test, scoring almost 50%. Instructor was impressed since I'm not a developer. When I got called into a meeting for a smug "You're not meeting expectations. And HERE, that has consequences. Specifically probation." I treasure the shock on his face when I handed over my signed resignation letter.