Warning: What Can You Do About Your PIP Right Now

5 min readMar 30, 2021

The PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) is used by managers and HR to help employees create an action plan when there are areas that require improvement in an employee’s performance. The Performance Improvement Plan aims to help employees reach goals that they may be struggling to meet. It is true that receiving a PIP can feel scary since many managers use it as the initial stage of requesting termination or dismissal of an employee. However, PIPs should not always be perceived negatively. In many cases, employers use the Performance Improvement Plan to monitor closely an employee’s performance with a more structured approach and formal documentation.

If you are on PIP, we would like to help you turn the situation around, here are a few tips!

How to respond to PIP (Performance Improvement Plan)

It is normal to be disappointed upon hearing you are being placed on PIP. However, the Performance Improvement Plan should not be a surprise. If it is, then something is wrong! During performance reviews or each one-on-one meeting, your manager should actively discuss with you issues that require improvement. The Performance Improvement Plan should not be raised out of a sudden.

If you strongly believe that the below points are applicable to your PIP, that raises a red flag;

1. If your manager has never discussed with you areas that require more focus from your side.

2. If you discover that none of the points which are in your PIP have been raised before.

3. If there have been no prior documented problems or indications of performance issues.

4. If there is no trend of negative performance.

5. If you are dealing with a toxic boss.

If the above points are somehow linked to the launch of your Performance Improvement Plan, it is, therefore, your right to submit a formal request to HR to check the reasons behind launching your PIP.

First, gather any evidence to support your objection to the PIP such as instances when your boss has been praising you, congratulations emails, or ‘good job’ messages. Most importantly, demonstrate that your performance does measure up to expectations and that there aren’t grounds for a PIP.

Remember to respond appropriately and work on facing the details of your Performance Improvement Plan with a calm and serious attitude. There is an important point that you need to consider though, if you have a history of written disciplinary actions, you should understand that your Performance Improvement Plan will be your last chance.

Aim for a specific PIP (Performance Improvement Plan)

PIPs should be extremely detailed and specific. In fact, your action plan should help you know exactly what you need to do to meet the requirements.

Ensure to follow the tricks below:

  • The Performance Improvement Plan objectives should be measurable with precise dates.
  • Ensure to understand fully all of the objectives set.
  • Read the PIP carefully and take time to visualize the steps that will help you meet the action plan/expectations.

The key in this stage is that you don’t have to accept your PIP as it is, ask for very specific elements. In other words, check if your objectives are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to your role, and tangible. It is harder to fire an employee on a PIP set with vague objectives.

Your manager should support

Your manager should be committed to helping you improve. The Performance Improvement Plan is not a document trail to prove some reasons or find excuses for termination. HR needs to assess with you the plan. From your side, you need to avoid missing deadlines, excessive sick leave, absenteeism, customer complaints, tardiness, inaccurate work.

If your boss simply delivers the Performance Improvement Plan without offering any kind of help, you should raise that officially. Lack of support or guidance during the PIP stage is a sign that your manager may not have your best interest at heart.

Monitor your PIP progress

Ensure to attend all Performance Improvement Plan meetings as scheduled and on time. Canceling meetings or showing up late would convey a lack of importance and commitment from your side. Your progress toward goals should be documented and discussed, seeking to identify why improvements have or have not been made. If gaps in training or required tools become necessary, request those as soon as possible.

Don’t wait for your manager to lead the meetings, self-report on how you believe you are doing and what else you need to succeed.

Ask for additional support and/or training

If you feel you are struggling, ask for additional support or training. It is important to recognize when you need that as soon as you can. If you have been given additional responsibilities or a greater workload without the pre-requisite training, then it is time to ask for proper training.

You can also propose to your manager to assign a colleague or a mentor to develop job specifics or soft skills.

Do you have to sign your Performance Improvement Plan?

HR will ask you to sign your PIP, unless it is automated, you will receive it in your performance portal.

Before signing, you need first to read the Performance Improvement Plan properly. If you find that your PIP is wrong or includes points that you did not agree on during the action plan, you must raise that officially.

When signing your Performance Improvement Plan, you should sign as an acknowledgment of receiving it only. That does not mean that you agree with the poor performance assessment. In order to avoid any confusion, add a comment or a disclaimer under your signature that says: “Signature indicates I have received this document. It does not indicate agreement to the terms within.”

Do not resign during your Performance Improvement Plan

You should not resign in response to your Performance Improvement Plan. In many situations, your voluntary resignation — even in the face of a likely future termination — will prohibit you from filing a legal claim.

To sum up, a structured and well-executed PIP can be in your favor. You can definitely turn your PIP into success and keep your job if you follow the above tips.

Check out www.jobsblend.com for more tips!




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