Author Topic: Writing performance improvement plans  (Read 1303 times)

MayDay

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Writing performance improvement plans
« on: March 07, 2020, 09:45:25 AM »
Anyone have to put an employee on a PIP? 

Specifically, how do you write one for shitty attitude and general rudeness in way that is not biased, accounts for neurodivergence/etc and can be evaluated fairly.

I am a woman and writing one for a woman.  It feels very icky to be writing the shit women get told all the time (that is super sexist in general situations)- be nice, be friendly, smile, etc. 

What I want to write is:  stop being an asshole and stop giving people silent treatment and being cold to the long list of people you are pissed off at because they are holding you accountable. 

Igelfreundin

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2020, 12:50:45 PM »
This is super hard kind of PIP to write. When I did this, I think we included that you had to talk to everyone when you needed to work with them, respond to questions and greetings professionally, never say anything about a coworker that you couldn't say in front of the CEO, and generally bring solutions, not complaints, to your coworkers and supervisor. Also, if you are seeing any problems around work performance, not just attitude, combing the two in one PIP gives you more leverage, I think.

I'm a woman who supervises people with a variety of gender expressions, and I definitely hear you on wanting to avoid telling anyone to "be nice."

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plog

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2020, 04:39:38 PM »
Call me jaded by reality, but I don't think you understand what a performance improvement plan is.  Its a way for an organization to generate documentation to terminate an employee. 

I have never seen one actually improve anyones performance.  Mainly because they aren't written objectively, but subjectively such that the organization can then point to their failures so that they can terminate them.

I would get with HR and have them help you. It will probably be a wink-wink nod-nod conversation where they will help you build the case towards termination but never explicitly state that.   

MayDay

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2020, 07:57:58 PM »
Call me jaded by reality, but I don't think you understand what a performance improvement plan is.  Its a way for an organization to generate documentation to terminate an employee. 

I have never seen one actually improve anyones performance.  Mainly because they aren't written objectively, but subjectively such that the organization can then point to their failures so that they can terminate them.

I would get with HR and have them help you. It will probably be a wink-wink nod-nod conversation where they will help you build the case towards termination but never explicitly state that.

I'm already working with HR.

We have two steps- a coaching plan and a PIP. This is actually a coaching plan which is effectively the same thing in terms of how I write it, but it's intended to give employees a chance to correct before going to a PIP.

I do genuinely want her to succeed- easier than hiring someone new and I care about her as a person.


former player

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2020, 03:37:06 AM »
It seems to me that what you want is for this employee to improve their manners?  Which is a very hard thing to tell people without their getting mortally offended.  Management speak usually describes this as a communication issue but that is basically a euphemism for good manners.

Perhaps you could put in the coaching plan all the good things about this person's performance and then go on to say "but your good work is not being as effective as it needs to be because you have not been communicating in ways to which others respond positively.  Communication goes both ways but the patterns of communication in this office are such that changes in your communication style would have the biggest impact on the largest number of people, so that is why in this coaching plan I am asking you to be pro-active in initiating change in your communications with others".

mrmoonymartian

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2020, 05:05:44 AM »
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Maenad

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2020, 07:57:00 AM »
Call me jaded by reality, but I don't think you understand what a performance improvement plan is.  Its a way for an organization to generate documentation to terminate an employee. 

Eh, I had to put someone on a PIP years ago, and he did improve just enough to be taken off. It was frustrating because it felt like he didn't get it, but at the same time, the performance issues we raised were corrected, and his work was just good enough, so I let it go.

The problem is that usually by the time you're at a PIP, the problems are big enough and entrenched enough that changing them is really hard. Any easy performance corrections have already been taken, and you're at the stage where the issues are down to fundamentals that are hard to shift.

Definitely check out the Ask a Manager blog - she address this kind of thing frequently. I think what she would advise would be to think about the results of the crappy behavior, like: employee is nasty and gives people the silent treatment, so they can't get their work done. So, you need her to respond within a day with the information requested (and correct and complete!), or with a notification of when she will be able to get that information to the requestor. And she needs to meet her deadlines.

You mentioned her being nasty to people who are holding her accountable. I'd recommending being completely explicit about what the expectations are that she's going to be held accountable to. Get as nit-picky detail-y as you need to. Have them in writing. Ask her to review these expectations (give her a day or so) and come back to you to confirm that they sound reasonable, or propose adjustments. Once she agrees to them, write them out and have you both sign them. Make copies, each take one. If she doesn't meet these expectations, that's part of her PIP reviews. Bring stuff up as soon as you find out about it.

It's a lot of work for you, and that's not fair, but it could also crystallize for her that maybe this isn't the right job for her. If you're explicit about expectations, and she can't or won't do it, this will make it abundantly clear to her that she needs to move on, since you're not going to change your expectations and just let her keep going as she's going.

One of the things that AAM is good for is helping managers view things a different way when they're frustrated with their people. Maybe she's angry because her responsibilities have changed over the years into things she's not comfortable with and hasn't had a say in (and hasn't been properly trained on). Maybe her responsibilities have kept growing and growing and she's worried about them growing into something completely unreasonable, so she's pushing back now as a maladaptive prevention technique. Or maybe she's just lazy and is hoping if she's difficult enough you'll all give up and let her go back to surfing the internet all day.

mistymoney

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2020, 09:05:13 AM »
Anyone have to put an employee on a PIP? 

Specifically, how do you write one for shitty attitude and general rudeness in way that is not biased, accounts for neurodivergence/etc and can be evaluated fairly.

I am a woman and writing one for a woman.  It feels very icky to be writing the shit women get told all the time (that is super sexist in general situations)- be nice, be friendly, smile, etc. 

What I want to write is:  stop being an asshole and stop giving people silent treatment and being cold to the long list of people you are pissed off at because they are holding you accountable.

I'm not sure how you landed on those kinds of words. If going down that road some items that may work:

collaborate effectively
Communicate with coworkers regarding xyz status - maybe just 'deliverables' if it is too broad.
maintain a professional demeanor

But if you're landing on asshole here.....then just detail what isn't getting passed along. You can almost largely ignore the interpersonal aspects.

I don't think it matters if someone isn't talking with coworkers as long as they are doing their job and passing off what needs to be passed off when if needs to be passed off. If quality matters - document in the PIP what the quality markers are as well as the timeframe.

Peony2019

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2020, 02:59:23 PM »
One of the things I do with my teams is introduce the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and how improving attributes in this space helps them be more effective in their roles.  It is surprising how many people have never heard about EI. Talking about these skills in the midst of a 'situation' and coaching team members through alternative ways to handle and advance their causes takes time but I often see it stick. 

I understood you to say you would start w/ a coaching before moving to a PIP.  You might consider sharing the concept of EI and what's in it for the employee if they follow some of the principles (jobs get done faster, coworkers respect is earned, relationships are built that can benefit employee in the future etc.).   You might role play some current problematic scenarios and introduce tools to resolve.  You might consider having them take a simple EI quiz to ID where they are strong and where they have room to improve, then tailor coaching accordingly.

Good luck.  These are often the most difficult management issues to resolve but I have seen some amazing turn arounds in employees I thought would never change once they became aware of what EI was and were given simple tools to navigate challenging situations.

I have one employee who had great skills but was like a bull in a china shop in her efforts to get things done.  We talked about how this approach might be threatening to those who were less secure in their knowledge or were simply following procedures their managers had given them.  We worked hard on starting her interactions with a simple 'help me understand why xxxxx'.  10 years later she will swing by my office and thank me for the simple advice given not to put people on their heels if she wants their cooperation.  I even hear her telling newer employees, 'Don't tell people they are wrong, ask them to help you understand'.  She is so much more effective and approachable that before people go down the wrong path, they will often call her and ask advice.  This never would have happened if she hadn't changed her approach...and it was only a slight change of phrasing.

mm1970

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2020, 12:27:05 PM »
Quote
I have one employee who had great skills but was like a bull in a china shop in her efforts to get things done.  We talked about how this approach might be threatening to those who were less secure in their knowledge or were simply following procedures their managers had given them.  We worked hard on starting her interactions with a simple 'help me understand why xxxxx'.  10 years later she will swing by my office and thank me for the simple advice given not to put people on their heels if she wants their cooperation.  I even hear her telling newer employees, 'Don't tell people they are wrong, ask them to help you understand'.  She is so much more effective and approachable that before people go down the wrong path, they will often call her and ask advice.  This never would have happened if she hadn't changed her approach...and it was only a slight change of phrasing.
I actually took a management class at our local college and this was something they covered.  It was good.

use2betrix

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2020, 01:25:16 PM »
Do you live in a “right to work” state? If not, why not be blunt? That’s what I would do, and have done..

MayDay

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2020, 05:39:58 PM »
My employee called in sick today.  I thought there was at least a 50% chance this would happen.  So 7:30 tomorrow morning it is!

use2betrix, according to google we are not right to work, although either way it is a big company so I need to follow our procedures. 

Thanks all for the advice.  I like the EQ idea- I will use that.  Lots of the talking points you all suggested have been helpful in formulating the plan.  My HR rep and my boss have approved it.  I foresee a lot of my time spent on daily and weekly check-ins for the next month while we hopefully rebuild trust and get things on the right track.

moneypitfeeder

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2020, 06:00:46 PM »
@MayDay is there anyone in your org that can act as a mentor to the problem employee? Maybe someone that can work a few hours a day every so often, and can give direct feedback (in person) on her interactions? Mentorship can be used as part of a PIP, and can could help identify to her actions that are maybe not being received the way she might have even intended (i.e., some people don't recognize when they are rude).

MayDay

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Re: Writing performance improvement plans
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2020, 07:46:52 PM »
@MayDay is there anyone in your org that can act as a mentor to the problem employee? Maybe someone that can work a few hours a day every so often, and can give direct feedback (in person) on her interactions? Mentorship can be used as part of a PIP, and can could help identify to her actions that are maybe not being received the way she might have even intended (i.e., some people don't recognize when they are rude).

That is a brilliant idea.