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Turn a Performance Impovement Plan Into a Positive

March 4th, 2019

It should never come as a surprise, but sometimes it does. One day you're asked to come to HR to be confronted by your grim faced manager and a senior HR person who inform you that because of deficiencies in you work you are being put on a Performance Improvement Plan.

It's an uncomfortable and scary situation to be in, as a PIP is often just a step away from termination. But hard as it may be to see it in a positive light, embracing the program can help you grow as an employee and restore confidence that you can do the job.

An article on Glassdoor makes five suggestions for turning around the situation:

  1. Get specific feedback on what successful performance is. Your manager should explain in detail what the problem areas are and provide you with specific goals and a timetable. You and the manager should agree on the plan, which might include training programs, as well as objectives.
  2. Consider your own motivation and attitude. Have you become complacent and resistant to change? Are you just "going through the motions" making little or no real effort to improve? "Evaluate your mistakes of the past and seek feedback from friends and colleagues."
  3. Ask yourself what's holding you back. It might be you and your boss aren't compatible or you're being asked to take on work for which you have no training. "Take the time to assess your environment at work to see if there is something blocking your success," the article advises. Look outside to your personal life. "Family dynamics, relationship stress, mental health and financial struggles are all realities of our day-to-day lives. If you’re experiencing any of the above, your performance at work is bound to suffer."
  4. Treat each day as if it was your first. Enthusiasm can make all the difference in how successfully you work the program. "View this PIP as a fresh start, and a second chance to show your company what you’re worth."
  5. Keep your eye out for other jobs. As the article says, it is always wise to have a backup plan. If this PIP was a surprise, and your previous performance reviews have all been positive, and you know your performance is good, then there may be other reasons at play. In that case, beginning a job search would be a good idea.

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